Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun’s modern opera Tea: A Mirror of Soul had its World Premiere in 2002 in Tokyo and debuted at the Santa Fe Opera Festival in 2007. The visually-stunning production will make its East Coast Premiere here in Philadelphia on February 19th at the Academy of Music.
On February 17, 2010 the Opera Company of Philadephia’s TIGER BALL 2010 will honor Tan Dun and his extraordinary opera, as well as local award-winning restauranteur, Margaret Kuo, with a gala dinner dance. Working with Ball co-chairs, Kathleen P. and Nicholas Chimicles, Esq., and the Special Events Chair, Ellen Berman Lee, Evantine will provide Asian-inspired event design for the celebration at the Hyatt at The Bellevue. The Chinese New Year (2010 is the year of the tiger), presents even more inspiration for the Asian-inspired menu, decor and entertainment. Proceeds support the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s mission to deliver outstanding productions, showcase rising young talent alongside internationally-acclaimed stars, and provide free educational programming to both students and adults.
Tan Dun (above) is a Chinese contemporary classical composer most widely known for his Grammy and Academy-award winning score for the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The conceptual and multifaceted composer/conductor has made an indelible mark on the world’s music scene with a creative repertoire that spans the boundaries of classical, multimedia, Eastern and Western musical systems. Central to his body of work, Tan Dun has composed distinct series of works which reflect his individual compositional concepts and personal ideas — among them a series which brings his childhood memories of shamanistic ritual into symphonic performances; works which incorporate elements from the natural world; and multimedia concerti. Opera has a significant role in Tan Dun’s creative output of the past decade, with the premiere of The First Emperor by the Metropolitan Opera featuring a title role created for Plácido Domingo. In 2008 Tan composed Internet Symphony No. 1: “Eroica” commissioned by Google/YouTube as the focal point for the world’s first collaborative online orchestra. He is currently nominated for a 2009 GrammyAward for his opera The First Emperor.
An innovatively modern yet melodious opera based on ancient lore, Tea: A Mirror of Soul is a fascinating blend of East and West, religion and drama, love and death in true Romeo and Juliet fashion. Set in ancient Kyoto, Japan, the opera follows the tragic legend of Lan (a Chinese Princess) and Seikyo (a Japanese monk) retroactively. We are first introduced to the end result before we are told how it came about. Seikyo and his beloved Princess Lan roamed around ancient China in search for the true ‘Book of Tea.’ Just as they are enlightened to the time-tested lore by Lu (the daughter of the legendary tea sage, Luyu) – tragedy strikes.
The story is elegantly told by two exceptionally gifted lead opera singers, the baritone Haijung Fu and American soprano Kelly Kaduce. In addition to their gorgeous voices, the set design, lighting and costumes are incredible!!! China silks and custom-made Japanese textiles were used to create 64 elaborate costumes for the opera by costume designer Masatomo Ota. Such fantastic inspiration can be taken from these sumptuous costumes!