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Updated: 2017-05-24 16:54:03

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The Legend of Sissi – Once upon a Time of the Emperor

Regarded as an ambassador of Hungarian culture in music and dance on one stage, the dance drama is rendered by the ExperiDance Production and the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra, depicting a glorious queen, a daring earl and a beautiful gypsy girl in a love triangle. Queen Elizabeth, known as Sissi, married Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1854, and became the First Lady of the Empire of Austria at the age of 16. The beautiful, sensitive and untamed woman was fleeing the suffocating constraints inherent in her role throughout her life. She found happiness and love in Hungary, where the nobility adored her, especially Count Gyula Andrássy, considered to be the most handsome man in the country. However, their affection could never be fulfilled.

The legendary love inspired the co-production of the ExperiDance Production and the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra. The heroes of the dance drama are a glorious queen, a daring earl and a beautiful gypsy girl. The amorous encounters and separations take place at a splendid ball. The dance conveys the tense and agonising moments of never fulfilled passion.

The soloists of the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra provide lively dance music for the production. The music features masterpiece melodies including Hungarian Rhapsody by Franz Liszt, The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss and Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms.

The ExperiDance Production was founded by Sándor Román and Tibor Vona in 2000 with former as the artistic director and the latter the producer. The company has over 50 artists and 20 works. It ever toured in 12 countries, presenting more than 2000 performances, and attracting two million audiences.

The Hungarian national heritage has two jewels, the Hungarian folk dance and the Hungarian gypsy music. In these two areas the company achieved reform, innovation and integration. As state-level art group, the company made remarkable contributions to the upholding and development of Hungarian national culture, especially to dance. It integrated the vigorous folk dance with the popular modern dance, creating their unique style and therefore won the honor of the ambassador of Hungarian dance culture. Their major productions include One Thousand and One Years (2000), Musketeers (2001), Bartók’s Dance Piece (2002), Revenge (2003), Steel - the Legend of Metal (2004), Gypsies of Nagyida (2006), Essence - Celebration of the Rhythm (2008), The Source - Icecold and Burning Hot (2011), The Count of Monte Cristo (2012), The Legend of Sissi - Once Upon a Time of the Emperor (2013), A Night in Venice (2014), I, Leonardo (2015), Pearl-Haired Girl (2016), and etc.

The company was awarded the EuroPAS Hungarian Dance Award in 2001, the Gundel Arts Award in 2010, the Cradle Award of the National Association of Large Families in 2014, and the European Business Awards in 2015. The Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra (Hundred Gypsy Violins) was founded in 1985. It is the largest gypsy orchestra in the world and is considered as the invisible museum of Hungarian spirit.

The orchestra now boasts 138 members, including soloists of violin, cello, bass, cymbalo and clarinet. Beside classical pieces of arts – including those of Liszt, Bartók, Kodály, Hubay, Erkel, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Sarasate, Strauss – they also play traditional Hungarian Gypsy music, Hungarian melodies and folk songs alike.

The Orchestra has toured around the world, performing at Gewandhaus, Wiener Musikverein, Victoria Hall of Geneva, and Theatre des Champs-Elysees,rendered the warmest welcome by audiences and widespread praise by media.

April 27-29, 2017 Grand Theatre, Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

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