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Zhang Yimou to Stage Opera for London Olympics

Updated: 2012-03-26 14:22

China's top film director Zhang Yimou, who engineered the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is about to stage an opera in London as part of the arts shows leading up to the 2012 London Olympics.

The version of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot, featuring 600 artists from China and Britain, will be staged in Wembley Stadium on June 23, with acclaimed tenor Placido Domingo acting as music director, the producer, Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group, announced Thursday.

The new version of Turandot will combine traditional opera with advanced sound and light effects, and emphasize more of the "Chinese aesthetic elements" compared with previous versions, the company said. The production is part of London Festival 2012, a 12-week program of concerts, exhibitions, films and live events in the run-up to 2012 Olympics.

Turandot, an ancient fable that originated in Persia but is set in China, tells of a princess so desirable that men came in their hundreds from all over the world, and queued to vie for her love. A suitor had to answer three vexing riddles -- and anyone who failed to do so was decapitated and his head placed on a stake, as a warning to those still in line.

Zhang made his operatic debut directing Turandot at the Forbidden City in Beijing in 1998. He produced another well-received version of the opera at the National Stadium in Beijing for the Beijing Olympics, and in 2009 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Zhang, 61, is the best-known Chinese film director, with multiple Oscar nominations for blockbusters such as "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers."



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