China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater, China, 2016

Tour Dates: 8th June - 17th June, 2016

Affiliated to the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater is the largest state-level theater with the longest history in China.

Tour Dates
  • 8th June - 17th June, 2016


Affiliated to the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater is the largest state-level theater with the longest history in China. It presents to the audience a series of diverse theatrical performances. Within the theater there is an opera troupe, dance drama troupe, folk music troupe, symphony orchestra, creation studio as well as a stage designing department. The theater was established in 1951, with Yan’an Lu Xun College of Art as its predecessor. The first Dean of the theater was the famous artist Zhou Weizhi, and Tao Cheng, a Musicology PhD, is the present Dean of the theater.

In addition to a group of famous artists such as Ma Ke, Qiao Yu, Wang Kun, Guo Lanying, Zhao Qing, Liu Wenjin, Chen Ailian, Wu Yanze, Xu Peidong and Guan Xia in the past, many young and middle-aged artists have emerged into prominence in recent years. In 1964, the theater participated in the grand musical dance epic The East is Red, in which the song Nanniwan sung by Guo Lanying has lived on in the memory of Chinese people for generations.

Over half of the century, the theater has performed more than one hundred operas and dance dramas, such as The White Haired Girl, Xiao Eehei’s Marriage, The Lotus Lamp, The Dream of Red Chamber, Wildness, and The Shadow of Fence, which have marked the history of Chinese opera and dance drama and established symbolic images for China’s theatrical arts. China’s national leaders such as Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping, as well as heads of many foreign countries have enjoyed the performances.

In recent years, the theater has produced a series of new masterpieces, such as Red River Valley (Opera), Confucius (Dance Drama), Charm of the Seasons, Wishes from Heaven, and Carnival on the Road (all Song and Dance). At the invitation of several countries, the theater has frequently presented its performance to audiences around the world.

With its classical stage performance, masterful arts and first-class artists, the theater has won wide recognition and appreciation not only domestically but also worldwide.

Program: Confucius

Confucius’ family and personal name was Kong Qiu, his courtesy name was Zhongni. He was a philosopher, educationist and politician in the Spring and Autumn Period (722 B.C. - 481 B.C.) as well as the representative of Confucianism. He was respected by later generations as Master Kong, the Great Sage and the First Teacher. The Confucianism established by him is the core of Chinese culture and he himself, as one of the ten greatest historical figures worldwide, has had profound influence on the human society. It is said that Chinese traditional culture is the spiritual hometown of the Chinese people, and then Confucius, respected as Teacher of All Ages, is forever the grandest statue standing there.

The dance drama “Confucius” is based on the wisdom and life course of Confucius. 60 dancers of the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater will bring his story back to life.

The dance drama uses dance elements to describe Confucius’ experience in traveling in all the kingdoms and the difficulties in putting the Confucianism into practice. The drama presents Confucius‘ mind and feelings with abundant melody and staged imagery, shows Confucius’ idea, spirit, wisdom, and passes the essence of Chinese traditional culture.

During the troubled times, the king was fatuous, fond of women and didn’t take Confucius’ suggestions seriously. Meanwhile, most ministers were crafty and fawning and schemed against each other. Confucius advised the king to implement the ritual system and the policy of benevolence, but the efforts ended up in vain. The court conflicts finally affected Confucius, who was compelled to escape and seemingly saw the ideal world of universal harmony amid the shortage of food in windy and snowy days. The frequent wars made people homeless and the beautiful apricot tree gardens turned into battlefields. Along the way home in the darkness, he sang the Orchid Melody, not to express his own sorrow, but suggest the grand but tough task ahead. He was on the homeward journey, but actually was on the way to a brilliant world.