The critically acclaimed SHANGHAI BALLET makes a welcome return to the Coliseum this August for five performances of their exquisite new production, ECHOES OF ETERNITY, choreographed by Patrick de Bana and inspired by the ancient Chinese poem ‘Song of Everlasting Sorrow’. Through a dynamic mix of drama and history Echoes Of Eternity details one of China’s most popular legends: that of the romance between the all-powerful Emperor Ming and his favourite concubine, Lady Yang, which ended in tragedy and, legend has it, led to the downfall of the Tang Dynasty.
Shanghai Ballet bring this contemporary version of the 8th century story to the Coliseum with a cast of award-winning young principals including Wu Husheng as the Emperor and Qi Bingxue as Lady Yang. The libretto is by celebrated French dramaturg Jean Francois Vazelle, the gorgeous costumes by former Paris Opera principal dancer Agnès Letestu and dramatic, atemospheric set design by the late Jaya Ibrahim.
Choreographer Patrick de Bana has chosen an eclectic score which ranges from Henryk Górecki to Armand Amar, from Philip Glass to Kodo to drive the scenes of love and high drama. De Bana started planning Echoes of Eternity when he was working on Jane Eyre which Shanghai Ballet performed at their highly successful UK debut in 2013: “I was drawn by the name of the book – Song of Everlasting Sorrow – the moment I laid eyes on it,” says the multi-lingual de Bana. “In China the lives of the emperors are general knowledge but in Echoes of Eternity I speak for Lady Yang. To me it was Lady Yang who made Emperor Ming famous; with her at his side he became a towering figure. But I think the strongest part of the story is the lengths Lady Yang will go to in the name of love.”
Echoes of Eternity is co-produced by the Shanghai Grand Theatre and Shanghai Ballet.
Choreographer: Patrick de Bana
Set designer: Jaya Ibrahim
Costume designer: Agnes Letestu
Light designer: James Angot
Scriptwriter: Jean Francois Vazelle
Literature Consultant: Sifu TANG
Assistants to Choreographer: Jean Marie Didiere, Attila Istvan Bako
Music: Armand Amar, Ravia Goldschmidt, Kodo, Henryk Górecki, Philip Glass
Emperor: WU Husheng
Lady Yang: QI Bingxue
Moon Fairy: ZHAO Hanbing
Gao Lishi: ZHANG Yao
Chen Xuanli WU Bin
An Lushan ZHANG Wenjun
ECHOES OF ETERNITY is based on one of China’s greatest love stories: that of the Emperor Tang Xuanzong and his favourite concubine, Yang Yuhuan. In the early half of his reign (712-756) Emperor Tang Xuanzong – the seventh (and longest reigning) emperor of the Tang Dynasty – was a diligent ruler and was credited, along with an astute team of advisors, with pushing Tang China towards new heights of economic and international powers. Although he had many concubines, consorts and even wives during his reign, he fell hopelessly in love with 18-year old Yang Yuhuan, the wife of one of his sons. Yang Yuhuan was known as one of the Four Beauties of Ancient China and when the Emperor ordered her to leave his son, she retired to a nunnery…but not for long. The Emperor soon made her his favourite consort and they lived happily together in his later years. The love story quickly captured the imagination of the public and of writers of Chinese and Japanese literature but then tragedy struck: during a rebellion, as the Emperor and his entourage were fleeing imminent attack, his guards turned on him and blamed the rebellion on Lady Yang’s family…the young woman was so distraught and knew there was only one thing she could do…
Echoes of Eternity at the London Coliseum
St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4ES
Booking From: 17th Aug 2016
Booking Until: 21st Aug 2016
Important Info: No under 5’s