Project

paradise

PARADISE INTERRUPTED

Music by Huang Ruo
Libretto and performance by Qian Yi
Direction, concept, and visual design by Jennifer Wen Ma

About the Work Creators Video/Audio Gallery Press Performances

ABOUT THE WORK

Paradise Interrupted is a new 90-minute installation opera in one act, conceived, designed, and directed by Jennifer Wen Ma with music Huang Ruo and a libretto and performance by Qian Yi. Inspired by the Garden of Eden and Chinese Kunqu opera Peony Pavilion, it follows a woman in search for an unattainable ideal, exploring a world that is activated by her singing voice.

Kun opera or Kunqu, one of the oldest and most refined styles of traditional Chinese opera. is a synthesis of drama, opera, ballet, poetry recital, and musical recital, which also draws on earlier forms of Chinese theatrical performances such as mime, farce, acrobatics, ballad recital, and medley, some of which go back to the third century B.C. and earlier. In a Kunqu performance, recited speech is interspersed with arias sung to traditional melodies. Each word or phrase is also expressed by a stylized movement or gesture that is essentially part of a dance, with strict rules of style and execution— much like classical ballet. Even casual gestures must be precisely executed and timed to coordinate with the music and percussion. The refinement of the movement is further enhanced with stylized costumes that also serve as simple props, as well as the general spare use of stage set. Using cutting-edge technology including voice-activated video projection, Paradise Interrupted highlights the essence of the art form while simultaneously deconstructing its rigid outer formalities.


Paradise Interrupted is co-commissioned and co-produced by Spoleto Festival USA, Lincoln Center Festival and National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts. Commissioned and produced with the generous support of Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang – Tang Family Foundation. Sponsored by: BMW Manufacturing Co.

Development in association with American Opera Projects with support provided by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment of the Arts.

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ABOUT THE CREATORS

dellairaHuang Ruo
(composer)
Awarded First Prize by the Luxembourg International Composition Prize, Huang Ruo has been cited by the New Yorker as "one of the world's leading young composers" and “one of the most intriguing of the new crop of Asian- American composers.” His vibrant and inventive musical voice draws equal inspiration from Chinese ancient and folk music, Western avant-garde, rock, and jazz to create a seamless, organic integration using a compositional technique he calls “dimensionalism.” Huang Ruo’s writing spans from orchestra, chamber music, opera, theater, and modern dance, to sound installation, multi-media, experimental improvisation, folk rock, and film. Huang Ruo's opera Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, was given its American premiere by the Santa Fe Opera in 2014. His upcoming commissions include two chamber operas for the Houston Grand Opera and the Washington National Opera, a vocal drama for the Ars Nova Copenhagen and Danish Dance Theatre, an orchestra work for the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, which will be premiered at the Concertgebouw, and a new symphony for the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan. Huang Ruo was born in Hainan Island, China, in 1976. He was admitted into the composition program at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, studying with his mentor Professor Deng Erbo at the age of twelve. After winning the Henry Mancini Award at the 1995 International Film and Music Festival in Switzerland, he moved to the United States to further his education. Since then, he has earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in composition from the Juilliard School. He is the artistic director and conductor of Future In REverse (FIRE), and was selected as a Young Leader Fellow by the National Committee on United States–China Relations in 2006. www.huangruo.com

Qian yiQian Yi
(Kunqu performer, librettist)
In 1999, Qian Yi was cast in the lead role of Lincoln Center Festival’s epic 19-hour production of The Peony Pavilion. The production toured internationally, playing at major international festivals in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia. Her performance has been widely acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, garnering such superlatives as “radiant” (New York Times), “incomparable” (Wall Street Journal) and “spellbinding” (New York Magazine). Since coming to the US, she has starred in numerous re-workings of Chinese opera for a western theater context, including Ghost Lovers (Spoleto USA), The Orphan of Zhao (Lincoln Center) and Snow in June (American Repertory Theater). In addition, she has been exploring western theater, working with directors such as Meredith Monk and Karin Coonrad. In 2008, she had her western opera premiere, singing a leading role in the San Francisco Opera’s new production of Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter's Daughter. Qian has written two plays, A Robe for the Moon and Fox Spirit. The former was performed at the Kennedy Center Page to Stage New Play Festival. Qian Yi continues to perform Chinese opera. Most recently, she starred in the Contemporary Legend Theatre’s The Butterfly Dream, which premiered at Taiwan’s National Theater as part of its 20th anniversary celebration. She also starred in The Eternal Palace, which was performed in venues across the United States including the Smithsonian Freer & Sackler Galleries. In addition to these performances, she has brought her knowledge of Chinese traditional theater to American audiences in an academic context. She taught Chinese Opera movement at Barnard College, Columbia University and has given numerous lectures and demonstrations at universities and museums around the country. www.qianyiarts.com

Qian yiJennifer Wen Ma
(director, concept, visual design)
Jennifer Wen Ma was born in 1973 in Beijing, China. Received her Master of Fine Art degree in 1999 from Pratt Institute, New York. She works and lives between New York and Beijing. Ma’s interdisciplinary practice bridges media as varied as installation, video, drawing, fashion design, performance, and public art, often bringing together unlikely elements in a single piece, creating sensitive, poetic and poignant works. Ma’s first major monograph was published in 2013 by Charta, distributed by DAP. Some recent solo exhibitions include Ullens Center For Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2012; Eslite Gallery, Taipei; Art Space NIJI in Kyoto, Japan; and The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC in 2011. Ma was the Artistic Director for The Republic of China Centennial Grand Countdown, Taipei, 2010. She participated in Lingua Franca for St. Moritz Art Masters, the 2010 Biennale of Sydney, and the 2009 Echigo-Tsumari Triennial, Niigata. Video installations were commissioned by Guggenheim Bilbao, 2009; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2008; and the National Art Museum of China, 2008. Ma’s permanent public projects include light installation on the façade of the Beijing National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, and for Digital Beijing Building, among others. In 2008, Ma was one of the seven members on the core creative team for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, and the chief designer for visual and special effects. Additionally, she won an Emmy for the US broadcast of the ceremony. www.littlemeat.net

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VIDEO/AUDIO

 
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PHOTO GALLERY

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PRESS

July 18, 2016 - BROADWAY WORLD
Opera Review: PARADISE INTERRUPTED, New York Premiere, Lincoln Center Festival 2016

July 15, 2016 - NY OBSERVER
Opera Review: PARADISE INTERRUPTED, New York Premiere, Lincoln Center Festival 2016

July 14, 2016 - WQXR OPERAVORE (NEW YORK, NY)
Opera Review: PARADISE INTERRUPTED, New York Premiere, Lincoln Center Festival 2016

July 14, 2016 - NEW YORK CLASSICAL REVIEW
Opera Review: PARADISE INTERRUPTED, New York Premiere, Lincoln Center Festival 2016

July 14, 2016 - THE NEW YORK TIMES
Opera Review: PARADISE INTERRUPTED, New York Premiere, Lincoln Center Festival 2016

July 13, 2016 - PLAYBILL
Opera Profile: “Lincoln Center Festival Kicks Off Today”

July 12, 2016 - THE NEW YORK TIMES
Opera Profile: “An Opera That Springs From China but Laps Distant Shores”

July 12, 2016- ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST
Opera Profile: “Paradise Interrupted Is a Cutting-Edge Opera for the Next Generation”

July 6, 2016 - THE NEW YORK TIMES
Opera Profile: “Huang Ruo’s Erotic Blend of Musical Styles”

June 28, 2016 - WOMEN’S WEAR DAILY
Opera Profile: “Jennifer Wen Ma’s ‘Paradise Interrupted’ to Open Lincoln Center Festival July 13”

April 5, 2016 - ASIA SOCIETY
Opera Profile: “Inside Look: Paradise Interrupted”

May 29, 2015 - THE POST & COURIER (CHARLESTON, SC)
Opera profile: "Guillermo Acevedo and his voice responsive projections in ‘Paradise Interrupted’"

May 26, 2015 - THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Opera review: PARADISE INTERRUPTED, World Premiere, Spoleto Festival USA 2015

May 26, 2015 - SEQUENZA 21
Opera review: PARADISE INTERRUPTED, World Premiere, Spoleto Festival USA 2015

May 26, 2015 - THE POST & COURIER (CHARLESTON, SC)
Opera profile: "Q&A with Qian Yi, singer in ‘Paradise Interrupted’"

May 24, 2015 - CHARLESTON CITY PAPER
Opera profile: "Spoleto overview: Festival artists — they're just like us!"

May 23, 2015 - THE POST & COURIER (CHARLESTON, SC)
Opera review: PARADISE INTERRUPTED, World Premiere, Spoleto Festival USA 2015

May 23, 2015 - CHARLESTON CITY PAPER
Opera review: PARADISE INTERRUPTED, World Premiere, Spoleto Festival USA 2015

May 22, 2015 - THE POST & COURIER (CHARLESTON, SC)
Opera/Festival profile: "Music in Time ever expanding horizons of series and its listeners"

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AOP PERFORMANCES

May 22, 2015
WORLD PREMIERE
Spoleto Festival USA, 14 George Street, Charleston, SC 29401
Presented by Spoleto Festival USA, in association with AOP

OTHER PERFORMANCES

March 21, 2015
Workshop of opera-in-progress
Temple of Dendur, Metropolitan Museum of Art,1000 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10028
Presented by Spoleto Festival USA

November 4-12, 2013
Workshop of opera-in-progress
Performa Hub, 13 Crosby St, New York, NY
Lihe Xiao, Lighting Designer
Guillermo Acevedo, Creative Technology Director
Matthew Hilyard, RA AIA, stage design
Xing-Zhen Chung-Hilyard , Eko-Lab, costume design
Melissa Kirgan, Eko-Lab, costume design
Cindy Ma, coordination and production
Marianna Peragallo, coordination and production
Co-presented by Performa 13 and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art with support by the Asian Cultural Council.

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