Although the Chinese American community has always strived to be good citizens, history has shown that they have not been treated fairly and need to let their Congressional leaders know that their service to our country needs to be recognized. Like many minorities, Chinese Americans overcame discrimination to serve their country bravely and honorably and we need to encourage the Congress to act favorably on this proposal to commemorate the service of these Chinese American veterans.
The Minneapolis-based Chinese Heritage Foundation’s commission “Dream of the Red Chamber” by San Francisco Opera will be touring the People’s Republic of China this month. The tour will include two performances each in three Chinese cities:
Sept. 8 & 9 in Beijing’s Poly Theatre
Sept. 15 & 16 in Changsha. The two performances are part of the grand opening of the Meixihu International Culture and Arts Centre Grand Theatre, one of the last projects designed by the late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid
Sept. 22 & 23 in Wuhan’s Qintai Grand Theatre
The “Dream of the Red Chamber” performances will be conducted by Bright Sheng, marking the composer’s first time conducting his opera. In Beijing, Sheng will lead the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra; in Changsha and Wuhan, he will be joined in the pit by the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra. The Chorus of the State Opera of Dnipro, Ukraine, will sing at each performance. “Dream of the Red Chamber” will be presented in the original production by acclaimed Taiwanese director Stan Lai and Oscar-winning Chinese designer Tim Yip. Performances will be by the original world premiere cast members.
San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock said, “Dream of the Red Chamber” had a profound impact in connecting San Francisco Opera to its broader Bay Area community ... I couldn’t be more proud that San Francisco Opera was the birthplace of a work that speaks so powerfully to such a broad audience.”
“Dream” played to capacity crowds at its world premiere at San Francisco Opera’s War Memorial Opera House last September 10 and at the 45th Hong Kong Arts Festival in March 2017. The San Francisco Chronicle hailed the opera’s “series of tautly constructed scenes that reveal the canniness of Sheng’s compositional strategy — in particular, his skill in crafting an operatic language that is a hybrid of Chinese and Western traditions.”
Adapted from Cao Xueqin’s lengthy 18th-century novel, the opera focuses on the illustrious Jia clan and the love triangle of Bao Yu, the young Jia heir, with two very different women: Dai Yu, his soulmate, and Bao Chai, a worldly beauty. The Jia family’s future and union between Bao Yu and Dai Yu are jeopardized when the emperor rejects Princess Jia as his favored concubine. Framed by a dreamlike prologue and epilogue,”Dream” relates the poetry and sadness of the original Chinese tale as a lush and lyrical 21st–century opera.
The opera first took root when Pearl Bergad, executive director of the Minneapolis-based Chinese Heritage Foundation, approached former San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley in 2013 about producing an opera based on the classic novel by the same name catering to non-Chinese speaking audiences. The tour performances will be sung in English with subtitles in both English and Chinese.
By Greg Hugh
Although only 17 years old, Andrew Moy has been performing in local theater since he was 8 years old. Moy is now starring in his 10th play at the Stages Theatre in Hopkins. “Shrek the Musical” is a rousing fairy tale adventure of an ogre-turned-unlikely-hero who galumphs onto the main stage. This Tony Award-winning musical is based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film. A wise-cracking donkey, a feisty princess, a short-tempered villain, a cookie with an attitude and dozens of fairy tale misfits stir up the kind of muddled mayhem that calls for a real hero. Fortunately, Shrek is on his way!
[Editor’s note: Vivian Wei Wu is a leading investigative reporter and new media studies scholar in China. Currently, she is the International Cooperation Director for Initium Media, a Hong Kong-based news, features and data journalism website and app. Prior to moving to New York City in August 2016 for a Political Science graduate program at the New School, Wu was the chief content director for China News at Initium Media in Beijing. Wu has more than 15 years of experience working in newspapers, magazines, TV and digital media. Among many other posts, she was editorial director at the celebrity magazine Portrait in China; media and legal reporter at the South China Morning Post Beijing Bureau for six years; and content supervisor at CCTV-6 for four years. She has won a great number of journalism awards in Hong Kong and Asia.
Wu has published hundreds of investigative reports, most notably reports on corruption, the crackdown on civil rights lawyers, food and drug safety, and environmental pollution. Because of her truthful reporting, she has been harassed by authorities on numerous occasions.
China Insight recently interviewed Wu via emails where she reflected on her career and her choice to be an investigative reporter, a highly dangerous profession in China.
The subject of Pat Hui’s recent annual art exhibit held at the studio she shares with her partner Paul Kwok at the Traffic Zone Gallery in Minneapolis, was “Su Shi, (Dong Po) 1037-1101,” Su was one of China’s most celebrated poet, essayist and calligrapher. “For the past 60 years, I have collected copies of the calligraphy scripts and copied his style of writing,” stated Hui. In the past 35 years, she has formed her own style of incorporating poetry, painting and calligraphy: The Three Perfections. All the works in Hui’s exhibition were organized to commemorate the 980th birth year of Su Shi, aka Su Dong Po. It features works such as the immortal works of the “Red Cliff” poem I and II, the Cold Food Festival script and many others.
According to multiple resources such as Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia, references used in this article, it has been documented that Su emerged as one of the most prominent poets in Chinese history amidst the political bickering of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Su, also known as Su Dong Po, has since become renowned for his warm, detail-oriented poetry that has inspired Chinese through the ages.
By Greg Hugh
What does a child adopted from China by an American couple experience as they grow up in the U.S.? The idea for this article was proposed by Ming Tchou, founder of the Chinese Heritage Foundation, whose mission is to preserve and promote, through grant making, the understanding of Chinese history, culture, and heritage among all Minnesotans. Tchou thought it would be interesting to get a perspective from such a child, so she and I selected Summer Ahern to be the subject of this article
Summer was adopted by Will and Beth Ahern, residents of Chanhassen, in 1999 when she was 15 months old.