Shanghai Peking Opera, among China’s most influential art troupes and cultural ambassadors, will bring to life a reimagining of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
No matter our heritage, the appeal of epic tales endures. We recoil at outsized villains and root for conflicted heroes. Through solemn tragedies, comic twists, and rich allegory, dramatic devices bind us together across cultures and continents. Working within this classical ideal, the Shanghai Jingju (Peking Opera) has been among China’s most influential art troupes and cultural ambassadors since its 1985 inception.
With The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan—a reimagining of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet—the troupe transforms memorable meter into its own unforgettable poetry of motion, music, mime, dance, and acrobatics. Within the Realm of the Red City, a disillusioned prince swears vengeance upon his uncle, who has killed his father and seduced his mother. By playing up physical expressions of ethics and existentialism inherent to Peking Opera productions, the audience senses these characters are but puppets pulled by fateful strings of fear and madness.
An evening that makes you sit up, look and listen afresh at a familiar story.
—The Guardian (UK)
Also known as Jingju, Peking Opera is a treasured Chinese tradition originating in the 18th century and renowned for ornate costumes, symbolic movement, elaborate masks, compelling music, and stunning choreography. By introducing Western stories into this tradition, Shanghai Jingju has broadened its mesmerizing reach to global audiences, including a celebrated run at 2011’s Edinburgh International Festival. Their blend of spectacle and subtlety pairs perfectly with Shakespeare’s feudal rivalries and fatal betrayals.
With gossamer delicacy and gargantuan power, The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan builds a monument to the Bard’s monologues using movement and music—retaining this tragedy’s rich tapestry for all times and ages.
A member of the artistic staff will discuss Peking Opera history and performance practices.
There will be a 15 minute intermission with a run time of 1 hour 50 minutes.