Zhang Yimou's Turandot

This post is terribly overdue… but worth a post nonetheless. I’ve just moved apartments a week ago and am almost done with unpacking, but still semi-living out of boxes and my suitcase. I live in an awesome neighbourhood full of old people, lao beijingren and I bike to work every day and I’m addressed as “the little singaporean girl”— very endearing although I’m really not so little anymore.


There was quite abit of hype about Turandot and I was a little disappointed because I went with huge expectations. The spectacle however was fantastic, involving masses of people in typical Zhang style. Surprisingly, the acoustics in the bird’s nest were pretty good, giving a whole new meaning to a proscenium stage—giant sports stadium with running tracks turn theatre.

The intercultural aspect of putting up this performance was all on track and I was fascinated by the colours and set that were very carefully thought out. The show made me nostalgic about my final year at uni, when I submitted my theatre studies graduation essay, directing/rewriting Macbeth produced in traditional Javanese style.

It’s fascinating how stories of the royal court across cultures all involved the same theme merely presented differently. Given the oriental current that Persia and China share, the story was beautifully interpreted, with a recurrent moon motif and coloured lights playing heavily in the shift of scenes.

I wouldn’t particularly recommend going to Zhang’s version of Turandot, but the bird’s nest theatre experience was certainly novel.


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