General Information

Wu Promotion is proud to present the brand-new Peking Opera epic Red Cliff – a production of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing – on tour in Europe throughout June and July, 2012. This is the first time that Peking Opera presents itself in Europe at such large scale. The production comprises a total of 160 artists and staff members and is to hold guest performances in three of the most prestigious European theatres, including the Vienna Burgtheater, the Hungarian State Opera House and the National Theatre Prague. The tour sets off in Vienna with three performances of Red Cliff. On July 2nd, the ensemble of the renowned Peking Opera Theatre performs a Peking Opera Gala at the Burgtheater, presenting extracts of four classical masterpieces: "At the Cross Roads", "Autumn River", "Farewell My Concubine" and "Presenting a Pearl on Rainbow Bridge".

The venues for this tour have been carefully chosen by Wu Promotion – all of them renowned houses, rich in tradition.The Peking Opera Production Red Cliff presents an outstanding ensemble with national Peking Opera stars, such as Yu Kuizhi, Li Shengsu, and many more. Since its premiere at the one-year-anniversary of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in 2008, Red Cliff has set a record with 11 performance sequels, constituting a total of 58 shows - attracting an audience of more than 100,000 people in China. At great efforts of the production team, Red Cliff has now been refined and redefined in every possible aspect: from script to direction, voicing to movements and stage design to costume. An impressive group of fans and followers will take the occasion of this tour to follow the ensemble from China to Europe and show their support and devotion to Peking Opera. This tour not only offers a great opportunity for the audience to experience their icons up-close, but also to immerse into the mesmerizing world of Peking Opera in a unique setting of the historically rich, cultural centres of Europe.

Wu Promotion is China's leading private cultural promotion agency and sees its foremost aim in the promotion and implementation of cultural exchange between East and West. Since its foundation in 1991, Wu Promotion has realized countless tours for Chinese artists in Europe as well as for some of the most prestigious Western orchestras and performing arts groups in Asia.


Burgtheater Wien

29-6-2012 20:00 Red Cliff
30-6-2012 20:00 Red Cliff
1-7-2012 20:00 Red Cliff
2-7-2012 20:00 Peking Opera Gala
("At the Cross Roads", "Autumn River", "Farewell My Concubine" and "Presenting a Pearl on Rainbow Bridge")
Ticket price: € 56,-/47,-/38,-/27,-/21,-/15,-/10,-/6,-
Ticket information: or
Telephone ticket sale: +43 1 513 1 513 (with credit card only)
Address: Dr. Karl Lueger-Ring 2, 1010 Wien, Austria


Burgtheater Wien

After the Comédie Francaise, the Burgtheater in Vienna is Europe's second-oldest theatre. Originally known as K. K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg,the Burgtheater – affiliated with its three other venues Akademietheater, Kasino and Vestibül – has a permanent ensemble of more than 80 actors and actresses, making it one of Europe's largest theatres. The Burgtheater is known today for its continuous output of high-quality-productions. Hence, it keeps playing a seminal role in the German-speaking theatrical world. Every season, the Burgtheater and its affiliated venues welcome approximately 400,000 theatre-goers to some 800 performances.

Apart from the stage-art, the Burgtheater plays an important part in architecture and interior design of Vienna's bustling 19th-century-history. The magnificent decoration - especially the two imperial staircases painted by Gustav Klimt, his brother Ernst Klimt and their companion Franz Matsch – portrays not only the genius of some of the world's most renowned painters: it serves as an epitome of universal art history, as Klimt and his friends were one of the last emerging painters of Europe still proficient in classical painting.

Moderator: Gert Voss

Born October 10th,1941 in Shanghai, Gert Voss is a German actor and currently member of the Vienna Burgtheater and Kammerschauspieler.

Gert Voss spent his childhood in Shanghai, later on at Lake Constance, Austria. He studied German literature and language studies as well as Anglistics while also taking private acting lessons with Ellen Mahlke, which was followed by his first theatre engagement.

After initial appearances in Constance (City Theatre), Braunschweig (Staatstheater) and Munich (Residenz Theater), he was discovered by Hans-Peter Doll, the then-director of Heidelberg. Later on he joined Claus Peymann in Bochum and shortly after was invited to the 20th Berlin Theatre Meeting with his role of Hermann Kleist's Die Hermannsschlacht.

In 1986 Gert Voss followed Peyman to Vienna. Since then has appeared in numerous Burgtheater-productions, such as Shakespeare's Richard III and The Merchant of Venice, Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, Tschechow's Ivanov, Ibsen's Rosmersholm, Strindberg's The Dance of Death and many more. During his engagement at the Burgtheater, Voss has worked with such master minds as Peter Zadek and George Tabori, of whom the latter has dedicated some of his plays to Voss: Requiem for a spy (with the comedian Branko Samarovski as his partner), Goldberg Variations and The Ballad of the Vienna Cutlet. Voss has also most successfully worked with Luc Bondy (Schaubuehne Berlin: Guitry's The Illusionist; Theater an der Josefstadt Vienna : Horvath's Figaro gets a divorce; Burgtheater and Akademietheater Vienna: Tschechow's The Seagull, Shakespeare's King Lear), Thomas Langhoff (Burgtheater Vienna: Bernhard's Elizabeth II and Schiller's Wallenstein), Andrea Breth (Burgtheater Vienna: Williams' Cat on a hot tin roof) and Thomas Ostermeier (Akademietheater: Ibsen's The Master Builder).

Among his various guest appearances, including Cologne and Berlin, perhaps the one most outstanding has been the title role in von Hofmannsthal's Jedermann at the Salzburg Festival, which he has played four summers in a row.

Gert Voss was named "Europe's best actor" in 1995 by "The London Times". The famous Claus Peymann once said about him, "Gert Voss is an actor at the peak of his success, his abilities have grown over many years." And George Tabori remarked: "He is a dangerous, naked actor, a scary clown, a raging Bull set free from the cage".

Hungarian State Opera House

4-7-2012 19:00 Red Cliff
5-7-2012 19:00 Red Cliff
Ticket price: Ft.13.000,- / 10.500,- / 8.200,- / 4.500,- / 1.300,- / 500,-
Ticket information:
Telephone ticket sale: +36 1 353 0170
Address: H-1061 Budapest, Andrássy Ave. 22.


Hungarian State Opera House

The Hungarian State Opera House (Hungarian: Magyar Állami Operaház) is a neo-renaissance opera house located in central Budapest, on Andrássy út. It is home to the Budapest Opera Ball, a society event dating back to 1886. Designed by Miklós Ybl, a major figure of 19th century Hungarian architecture, the construction lasted from 1875 to 1884 and was funded by the city of Budapest and by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary. The Hungarian Royal Opera House (as it was known then) opened to the public on September 27th, 1884.

Many important artists have been guests here, including Gustav Mahler (Music Director 1887- 1891) and Otto Klemperer (Music Director 1947-1950). In the 1970s, the state of the building prompted the Hungarian State to order a major renovation which eventually began in 1980 and lasted till 1984. The reopening was held exactly 100 years after the original opening: September 27th, 1984.

National Theatre Prague

9-7-2012 19:00 Red Cliff
10-7-2012 20:00 Red Cliff
Ticket price: Kč 840,- / 740,- / 530,- / 420,- / 210,- / 110,- / 50,-/ 30,-
Ticket information: or
Telephone ticket sale: +420 224 901 448
Address: Ostrovní 1, 112 30 Praha 1, Czech Republic


National Theatre Prague

The National Theatre (Czech: Národní divadlo) is the Czech Republic's representative stage. It is one of the symbols of Czech national identity and a part of the European cultural arena. It is a bearer of national cultural heritage and at the same time a stage for free artistic creativity. The theatre is a living artistic organization which understands tradition as a duty to constantly find new interpretations and an endeavor to achieve the highest artistic quality.

Today's National Theatre comprises three artistic ensembles – opera, drama and ballet – which alternate in performances in the historic building of the National Theatre, the Estates Theatre and the Kolowrat Theatre. All three artistic ensembles choose their repertoire not only from the wealth of classical references, but also turn to national authors and a variety of contemporary international creative work.

About Red Cliff

About the Production

NCPA's grand new adaption of the Peking opera epic Red Cliff premiered at the one-year-anniversary of the performing arts' venue in 2008.

Red Cliff is part of the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms - the latter being one of the “Four Great Classical Novels” of Chinese literature. Written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, Romance of the Three Kingdoms is set amidst the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms' era. Based on the legendary tale of the battle at Red Cliff, the opera tells the story of how the two kingdoms of Shu and Wu enter into an alliance in order to defeat the Kingdom of Wei.

From the stage to the big screen and back, the tale has been retold through various art forms over and over again - though never losing its charm. NCPA's new stage interpretation with its strong cast including the country's top performers as well as a first-rate team for stage and costume design has won critical acclaim for its soul-stirring arias and its abundant aesthetic stage design.

Unlike traditional Peking opera in which the props mainly include a table and two chairs, director Zhang Jigang and stage designer Gao Guangjian decided to create a more lively experience of art by choosing a set which lends mainly from Western opera conventions. Following the general Peking opera endeavor to reflect the Zeitgeist - also by means of the latest technical achievements - Zhang and Gao strived to enrich the stage design by adapting visual and audio effects from the film genre to the requirements of a stage set.

The most striking result of integrating a variety of new art forms into this production has been an incredibly young audience taking an interest in a seemingly out-of-date topic. Thus, the production manages to live up to NCPA's principal object: reviving Chinese stage art in a modern context and fostering the understanding of the young generation towards Chinese cultural heritage.

Since the critically acclaimed 2009 broadcast in New York's Times Square, the international community's attention has been drawn to this NCPA masterpiece.

About Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is acclaimed as one of the "Four Great Classical Novels" of Chinese literature. It is a historical account set amidst the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in 280.

The story (part historical, part legend, and part myth) chronicles the lives of feudal lords and their retainers, who tried to replace the dwindling Han Dynasty or restore it. While the novel actually follows hundreds of characters, the focus is mainly set on the three power blocs that emerged from the remnants of the Han Dynasty - to eventually form the three states of Wei, Shu, and Wu. The story deals with the plots, battles, intrigues, and struggles of these states in their efforts to achieve dominance for almost 100 years.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms also gives readers a sense of how the Chinese view their history in a cyclical context. The famous opening lines of the novel summarize this very view: "It is a general truism of this world that anything long divided will surely unite, and anything long united will surely divide."

Red Cliff Synopsis

In the winter of the Thirteenth Year of Jian-an Reign of Emperor Xian (Han Dynasty, 208 A.D.), the mighty warlord Cao Cao strives to conquer the territories South of the Yangtze River. As news spread, the civil officials of the kingdom of Wu intend to surrender, whereas the military forces prepare to offer resistance. Encouraged by Zhuge Liang, Zhou Yu and Xiaoqiao – all willing to sacrifice their lives in combat for their country – founder of the Wu kingdom, Sun Quan, decides to ally with Liu Bei, founder of the Shu kingdom, to defeat the agitator Cao Cao. The decisive battle takes place at Red Cliff, where Cao’s army is defeated and forced to withdraw to the North.


Act One: Punitive Expedition Sets Off

Winter of the Thirteenth Year of Jian-an Reign of Emperor Xian of Han Dynasty (A. D. 208)
The Emperor Xian of Han Dynasty enjoys a feast with his ministers with music, dance and acrobatics beneath the Bronze Peacock Terrace Complex.

Then Cao Cao arrives. He who made all lords, officials and officers succumb to his authority by showing due respect to the Son of Heaven, seeks to chase enemies to the South and destroy them at their camps, crossing natural barriers to conquer the Four Seas and dominate the land. The Emperor, dreading Cao Cao’s power, pronounces the edict of the expedition to the South.

After the imperial announcement, commander-in-chief Cao Cao orders to muster close to a million land- and water-borne forces and set out that day. He is to eradicate Sun and Liu and conquer the territories south of the Yangtze River.

"In this chaotic situation,
  I have been riding across the land,
  Launching punitive expeditions against Dong Zhuo,
  Lü Bu and other warlords.
  And chased enemies to the South and destroyed
  them at their camps, And crossed natural barriers
  to conquer the Four Seas and dominate the land."

——Cao Cao


Act Two: A Battle of Words

Distant drums indicate the arrival of Cao’s troops at the border of the Eastern Wu Kingdom. Panic strikes the court of Eastern Wu as rumor spreads among the civil and military officials.
An argument arises over the question whether to surrender to Cao’s troops -as civil officials suggest- or to wage war, the generals’ preference.

A clear sound of a gong interrupts the argument among officials and officers. Zhuge Liang enters the court, stating that he is there to persuade Sun Quan, the Lord of Wu, to resist the powerful adversary together with his Lordship Liu Bei.

Zhuge Liang’s proposal again flares up the dispute. He confidently regards Cao’s vast army as “ants and caterpillars” and points out that, though battletried, Cao’s troops are likely to be exhausted after their long expedition. Zhuge Liang’s argument leaves the civil officials speechless while winning hails from the military side.

Sun Quan still being hesitant whether to wage war or not, he decides to consult Zhou Yu over that matter. On doing so, Yu Fan sneakily approaches Sun Quan to tell him about Zhou Yu’s furiousness over Cao’s arrogant ambition of “seeing the Qiao sisters in the south-east”, causing Sun Quan to fly in a rage.

"Leaving Jiangxia, I sail all the way down to Chaisang,
Now I leave the boat, step on the bank and arrive
at the Court.
With my glib tongue, I will remove obstacles
and dispel doubts,
To persuade His Lordship of Wu to resist the powerful adversary together with us."

——Zhuge Liang


Act Three: Alliance Forged

Xiao Qiao is preparing a meal and a refreshing drink for her husband Zhou Yu in the Military Governor’s Mansion, Chaisangjun.

Using the pretext of having to talk to Zhou Yu, Yu Fan comes to sow discord in the relationship of the couple. He points out that the root cause of Zhou Yu’s depression is no other but Xiao Qiao. Yu Fan’s talk disturbs Xiao Qiao so much that she faints.

After careful contemplation, Xiao Qiao finally makes up her mind to sacrifice her life for the honor of her husband Zhou Yu, who successfully thwarts Xiao Qiao’s suicidal attempts soon after. In her duet with Zhou, her lyrics depict an understanding woman and a wife’s deep affection for her husband.

Their conversation is overheard by Sun Quan, Zhuge Liang, Lu Su and others at their door. Deeply touched by their courage, Sun Quan makes up his mind that Sun and Liu (i.e. the founders of the kingdoms Wu and Shu, respectively) will form an alliance in their effort to defeat Cao Cao. The temperament of Zhuge and Zhou clicks and, as great minds think alike, their solution comprises nothing less than fighting and firing with full force.

"If you opt for peace, they will say you are a coward;
  If you opt for war, they will say you do this for a woman.
  If you find yourself in such a helpless situation,
  It's better for me to die for sake of honours of us both."

——Xiao Qiao


Act Four: Boats Thatched to Receive Arrows

In the brightly lit camps of Cao’s troops on the north side of the Yangtze River, Cao Cao is sharing a banquet with his military officials on his tower ship. On the other side of the river, Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang are boating. Zhou Yu starts to play zither as they approach Cao’s camps. As the zither sounds clearer through the fog, Cao Cao enjoys his drink as well as the graceful sounds, though well-aware of the sound’s origin.

Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang initiate a mock attack: behind the boat of them, 2 arrays of fast boats each made up of 20 boats approach the camps of Cao one after another. Cao Cao is suspicious of the situation but still hesitates to take action in such dense fog. Noticing that Zhou Yu is beating the drum, Cao bursts into anger and orders to muster all crossbow shooters to shoot 10,000 arrows. After the rain of arrows is received by the thatched boats, soldiers of Wu shout, “Thank you, Prime Minister, for your arrows!” Cao Cao then finds himself fooled but realises that his regrets would be in vain.

"Chasing the deer across the holy land, heroes compete.
Who will turn out be the final winner to take over the reins
of government?
Look at today, rival forces meet here to fight a bloody battle
at Red Cliff.
The Yangtze River flows easterly, waves upon waves;
a multitude of heroes have been tossed into oblivion,
It's me alone, whose name shall go down in history!"

——Cao Cao, Zhuge Liang and Zhou Yu

Act Five: All Set for Combat, Awaiting an Easterly Wind

The 10,000 arrows “received” from Cao’s troops provide the Alliance with enough arrows to combat. Cheerful mood dominates Wu’s drilling ground by the riverside. Soldiers are either transporting arrows or drilling while Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang supervise the events from an observing terrace.

Xiao Qiao arrives with women folks, bringing clothes and robes to support the army. Military officials are encouraged and the army drills with high morale. The north-westerly wind blows harshly, taking away Zhou’s smile. Anxiously, he cries out: “It’s too bad…!”

Zhuge knows what Zhou is worried about: “to defeat Cao’s troops, it’s better for us to use fire. Everything is ready now but the easterly wind!” Despite the contrary circumstances, Zhuge Liang remains confident and tells Zhou Yu that within three days a strong easterly wind will be at their disposal without fail.

"Zhou and Lu, don't you worry,
  I have the secret knack of communicating with Heaven
  and Earth.
  You just have sulphur, faggots and reeds ready,
  Within three days a strong easterly wind will be
  at your disposal without fail."

——Zhuge Liang


Act Six: Raging Fire at Red Cliff

The arrogant but deliberate Cao Cao notices the fatal flaw in his iron chain stratagem as well: “…these vessels have been linked together with iron chains so that they become stable; but in case the enemy uses fire to attack us, the boats cannot be separated and as a result once one boat is set ablaze, all the rest will be consumed in the inferno.” Cao’s generals fall into panic. But Cao Cao is quick to comfort them with a laugh: In the depth of winter, an easterly wind blowing their way is more than unlikely.

At the very moment Cao Cao laughs out loud, the wind changes direction to the north and blows the free side of the main flag at the nose of Cao Cao’s war ship to slap his face. Cao Cao is paled with fright as the distant horizon is glowing with faint red beam which turns scorching red in just a while and appears to be Wu’s fire boat pushed by the speeding wind and loaded with sulphur.

Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang are commanding the army with heroic spirit. Their troops defeat Cao’s thoroughly by the help of the soaring fire that burns down those iron-chained vessels. The wounded’s blood and the fire change the river’s as well as the sky’s colour to glooming red. At the end of the day, Cao Cao’s troops of 830.000 men are consumed in the inferno as Cao manages to flee under the protection of just a few surviving military officers and soldiers.

As a celebration over the overwhelming victory of the allied troops of Sun and Liu,
a giant feast is being held. Zhuge Liang is seen at the rocky waterfront of Red Cliff,
offering wine as a sacrifice to the roaring Yangtze River.

"Fire burns down Cao Cao's boats and paddles,
  The wounded bloods change the river color to red.
  His dreams dashed down by surging waves,
  And the legend of Red Cliff will last forever."

——Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang



"To the west of ancient bulwarks, smoke and dust trail out of sight,
  Red Cliff sees waves billowing up high as hills,
  A multitude of heroes of the past have been tossed into oblivion,
  Yet rivers and mountains remain eternally new!"

The Grand Imperial Stage

Act One:

The Bronze Peacock Terrace Complex stands high,
Resplendent and magnificent,
Showing the ancient architectural style of the Han Dynasty.


Act Two:

A verbal warfare hides
In a serene and peaceful atmosphere.


Act Three:

Curtains of green bamboo;
A hero and a beauty,
The flavour of the South briefly laid out
At the threshold of life and death,
Portraying Xiao Qiao's inner distress

Act Four:

A small boat subtly counters a big warship.
Countless thatched boats are rowing quietly in a fog.
Heroes talk and laugh on a boat.


Act Five:

Tens of thousands of soldiers are drilling.
Hundreds of flags are flapping in the easterly wind.


Act Six:

Iron-chained vessels are burned down.
The million-strong troops of Cao are consumed in the inferno.
The battling scene is presented within the depths of the stage.
The consequence of the engulfing flame is the tripartite division of the land.


The endless river flows eastwards.
With its huge waves
All those heroes of bygone years are gone.


Leading Cast

Yu Kuizhi as Zhuge Liang
(Military Counselor of the Kingdom of Shu/ Lao Sheng – senior male role)

Yu Kuizhi is one of the most influential Peking opera artists in China today. He currently holds the position of Vice President and Artistic Director of the China National Peking Opera Company. Throughout his career, Yu Kuizhi has been continuously pursuing artistic refinement of his performance skills. He strictly adheres to constitutive traditions of the genre, while at the same time he strives for innovative development. Yu’s repertoire includes classical works like Heroes of the Yang Family, Silang Visits His Mother, Suicide with a Golden Brick, The Boar Forest, General and Minister are Reconciled and The Whole River Red, new historical works like The Royal Consort of the Tang Dynasty, Yuan Chonghuan, Up and Down of Apricot Flag, Mei Lanfang, Walk towards the West Joint, and Soulmates, as well as NCPA’s brand-new epic Peking opera Red Cliff.

Li Shengsu as Xiao Qiao
(Zhou Yu's Wife/ Dan – female role)

Li Shengsu is a renowned Peking opera artist. She is the head of China National Peking Opera Company’s Troupe No.1. Li fascinates with her elaborate singing and martial arts skills. Her graceful though natural stage appearance is topped by a great attention to detail. Li Shengsu’s repertoire includes classical works like Drunken Beauty, Farewell My Concubine, Mu Guiying Takes Command, Madame White Snake, Xie Yaohuan, and The Tale under the Willow Shade. She has been further engaged in performances of new historical works like Walk Towards the West Joint, Soulmates, and the brand-new Peking opera epic Red Cliff.

Throughout her career she has been following the acting tradition of Peking opera master Mei Lanfang: moderate and calm, restrained and subtle. Besides, she adheres to her own intuition and restrains from imitating performing styles. By doing so, Li has achieved high recognition for her unique style. Li Shengsu is claimed to be the most gifted and glorious successor of the school of Mei.

Zhang Jianfeng as Zhuge Liang
(Military Counselor of the Kingdom of Shu/ Lao Sheng – senior male role)

Zhang Jianfeng is member of the ensemble of the Peking Opera Theatre. He is a second generation disciple of the School of Xi (Xiaobao) and graduated from the post-graduate master class for young performers at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts. In 2000, Zhang became a student of Ouyang Zhongshi, who is a direct disciple of Xi Xiaobao. Zhang has studied under such masters as Li Baozhang, Zhang Rongpei, Wang Shixu, and Chen Zhiqing. His singing is formidable, his looks handsome and he moves on stage with grace and elegance.

Zhang Jianfeng’s repertoire includes: Baidi City, Silang Visits his Mother, Red-bristle Horse, Loosing the Jieting Pass, Ruse of Empty City, Execution of General Ma Su, Battle of Taiping, and Reviling Cao Cao While beating a Drum, among others.

In 2005, Zhang won the gold award of CCTV’s National TV Competition for Young Peking Opera Performers.

Dou Xiaoxuan as Xiao Qiao
(Zhou Yu's Wife /Dan - female role)

Dou Xuan is an acclaimed Dan performer, following the principles of the Mei School. She is part of the ensemble of the Peking Opera Theatre. Dou has studied under the instruction of great Peking opera masters, such as Li Huifang, Meng Xianrong, Liu Xiurong, Li Weikang, Wang Zhiyi, and Guan Jinglan. In 2007, she became a student of Du Jinfang, a highly established Peking opera performer and artist.

Dou Xuan’s repertoire includes: Madame White Snake, Xi Shi, The Drunken Beauty, Xie Yaohuan, A Young Pheonix Flying High, and The Three Beatings of Tao Sanchun. She has been awarded with the Silver Prize at the 6th CCTV Peking Opera Competition, where she starred in the piece Six Chapters of a Floating Life, which won the “Outstanding Program Award” in the 11th China Drama Festival.

Wang Yue as Cao Cao
(Prime Minister of the Eastern Han Dynasty and Founder of the Kingdom of Wei/ Jing - painted face male role)

Wang Yue is an outstanding young performer of Shanxi Peking opera House. He was admitted into Hebei Art School in 1991 and appointed to work for Shanxi Peking Opera House in 1997. He majored in performance of the Jing role. Wang’s repertoire includes, among others, Execution of a Royal Member, Town of Chisang, Li Kui Visits His Mother, Five Dragon Subdued, and Scout the Royal Mausoleum. He won the Screen Award and was a finalist in CCTV’s 5th National TV Competition for Young Peking Opera Performers in 2005.

Li Hongtu as Zhou Yu
(Senior General of the Kingdom of Wu/ Xiao Sheng – young male role)

Li Hongtu is one of the most esteemed Peking Opera performers today. He is an acclaimed Xiao Sheng of the Ye School. Li is the director and principle performer of Peking Opera Theatre’s Mei Lanfang Peking Opera Troupe. As graduate of the post-graduate master class of young performers at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, he gained the title of Outstanding Expert by the Ministry of Culture and was granted special government allowance by the State Council. Li startles as extremely gifted and handsome performer with his natural and engaging stage appearance. His voice is mesmerizingly resonant, bright and beautiful. Li is widely recognized as one of the best Xiao Sheng disciples of the Ye School. With highly elaborate singing and martial arts skills, his acting strictly adheres to the tradition of the Ye school. Li Hongtu has been honored with several awards throughout his career, including the Best Performance Award in the National Young Peking Opera Performers Competition and the Chinese Drama Plum Blossom Award.

Production Team:

Playwright: Cai Fuchao

Chief Director: Zhang Jigang

Zhang Jigang is a highly acclaimed Chinese contemporary choreographer, director and educator. Among others he holds the positions of President of the P.L.A. Academy of Art, Vice Chairman of Chinese Dancers’ Association and Chairman of China Special Art Committee. Zhang has made an appearance as deputy director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and chief executive director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Paralympic Games. Furthermore, Zhang acted as chief director for Road to Revival, a grand music and dance epic, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

Throughout his career, Zhang Jigang has directed over 70 large-scale national gala performances and produced more than 500 dance works, including Thousand-Hand Bodhisattva and Yellow Earth. His work further includes the dance dramas Wild Zebra and A Handful of Jujubes, the musical play White Lotus, the Peking opera Red Cliff, as well as large-scale music and dance shows such as My Dream, For Justice and Peace, Road to Revival and We are Together.

Zhang’s works have been performed in over 100 countries and regions, gaining him ten top awards in international competitions, and more than 50 gold prizes in China`.

Zhang Jigang is visiting professor at Peking University, Tsinghua University, National Defense University, and the China National Academy of Arts. He has given lectures all over China and in more than 20 countries all over the world. His publications – among them Zhang Jigang’s Ideas about Arts: Limitation is the Home for Talents – have gained him critical acclaim.

Director's Note

This is my first experience as a Peking opera director.
With utmost courage, I have turned to an art genre which is completely new to me.
However, once I am here, I find myself totally disarmed by its untold beauty.
Peking opera has no rivals in reality: the only opponents and foes exist in the dramatic world of a Peking opera.
In Peking opera, even the most compelling story will evolve with natural ease.
Dear audience, please use your ears, your eyes and - most importantly - your heart to enjoy and understand the Peking opera.
Welcome to the theatre! Watch and enjoy the fierce combat at Red Cliff!

Production Supervisor: Deng Yijiang

Deng Yijiang holds the position of Vice President and spokesman of NCPA. He is a council member of the China Dancers’ Association, Vice Chairman of the China Society for Musical Studies and former Deputy Director of Beijing Dance Academy. Deng has been involved in dance performance, choreographic work, and direction of several dance dramas, operas and large-scale gala events. His scripts and dance drama works have gained him more than 10 national awards.

Over the past years, Deng has followed many engagements as university professor and graduate student supervisor as well as conducted research in the related field.

Music and Aria Design: Zhu Shaoyu
Zhu Shaoyu is a nationally acclaimed composer and musician, specialized in traditional Chinese opera. He is a council member of the China Theatre Association and China Musicians’ Association. In his over 30 years’ involvement in musical creation he has proven highly successful merging music of the traditional Peking opera with traditional folk music, modern Western tunes and local opera. By creating numerous novel tunes as well as musical patterns he paid valuable contribution to the development of traditional Chinese opera. His works have gained him several national awards, including the Splendor Award, the Cultural Composition Award, Best Work Award, and the Works of Excellence on Nation’s Stage award.

Executive Stage Director: Shi Hongtu
Shi Hongtu is the former President of the Peking Opera Theatre, Deputy Secretary General of China Theatre Association and a renowned Peking opera director.

After his graduation from Beijing Theatre Academy – Shi majored in Peking opera performance - he got enrolled in the Directing Department of the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts. His work as a director includes among others: Ne Zhan (starring Pei Yanling), Mei Yun (starring Mei Baojiu), Commemoration of 1644, Turandot (in collaboration with Lin Zhaohua), Princess Floret (Kun Opera), Resounding in the Heaven (starring Pei Yanling). Shi has been granted numerous awards for his achievements as a stage director.

In 1977, Shi set off for Japan to study traditional Japanese drama – an experience reflected in his publication Theatre Experience in Japan and rounded off by an essay for the international seminar commemorating No master Zeami.

Director of Stage Design: Gao Guangjian
Gao Guangjian graduated from the Stage Design Department of the Central Academy of Drama in 1988. He found himself among the two winners of the 2nd Academy Award the same year. Gao’s work has been displayed at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (PQ) in 1999 and 2011 as well as at the World Stage Design, 2009 (WSD2009). The winner of several Splendor Awards for Stage Design of the Ministry of Culture has been invited to design the space for the Shenzhen Pavilion in the Urban Best Practices Area at the Expo 2010. Gao Guanjian currently holds the position of Stage Design Director at the NCPA.

His major works include:

Turandot (1997, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Florence, Italy; 1998, Imperial Ancestral Temple, Forbidden City, Beijing; 2008, NCPA, Beijing);
Rigoletto (1993), Boundless Prairie (1995), La Traviata (2001), Gamble of Life (2004), Magic Flute (2009), A Village Teacher (2009), Das Waisenkind (2011), dance drama Dunhuang My Dreamland (2000), A Love Story in the Imperial Garden Yuanming Yuan (2001), Marco Polo (2010), Red Cliff (2008).

Lighting Design: Wang Ruiguo
Wang Ruiguo graduated from the Stage Design Department of Shanghai Theatre Academy. He was appointed chief lighting designer for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and worked as lighting designer for numerous large-scale dance drama productions, including A Handful of Wild Jujubes and Peony Pavilion. His work has been praised with countless awards.

Costume Design: Song Li
Song Li is the costume designer of the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Political Department of the PLA. She has been engaged in numerous large-scale events, art performances and dance dramas. Song Li has been awarded countless prizes in the category “Best Costume Design” at various competitions in China.

Costume Design: Peng Dinghuang
Peng Dinghuang teaches costume design at the Stage Design Department of the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts. She has worked as costume designer on several productions, including among others: The Humpbacked Prime Minister Liu, Turandot, Princess Wencheng, Conquering the City of Lu, and Zheng He’s Journey to the West. Her work has gained her numerous important costume design awards.

Chief Producer: Chen Ping
Playwright: Cai Fuchao
Chief Director: Zhang Jigang
Composer: Zhu Shaoyu
Executive Director: Shi Hongtu
Director of Stage Design & Stage Art: Gao Guangjian
Costume Design: Song Li, Peng Dinghuang
Lighting Design: Wang Ruiguo, Zhang Zhuo
Conductor: Wang Yongji
Instruments: Yang Nailin, Xu Xiaoming, Wen Zhongjia, Wu Sheng

Supervisors: Li Enjie, Deng Yijiang
Producers: Li Zhixiang, Zhou Tielin
Executive Producer: Guan Bo
Production Coordinators: Zhu He, Li Ye
Production Assistant: Chen Wenjie, Liu Yi, Liu Ye, Ye Qing
Stage Design Assistants: Li Bin, Zhao Xiaoyu
Composition Assistant: Yuan Peng
Choreography: Chen Qing
Revival Choreography: Shang Junrui
Log Keeper: Lan Gongxin

Technical Direction Crew: Cai Xiaolong, Zhai Gang, Shen Jiaxin

Stage Technical Director: Guan Jianbo
Stage Manager: Li Qing, Xu Xiaogang, Chen Long
Stage Design Coordinator & Stage Technical Manager: Li Bin
Assistant Stage Design Coordinator: Zhou Lin
Stage Machine Coordinator: Rao Ziqing
Lighting Coordinator: Zhang Wenjiang
Lighting Operator: Zhang Zhuo
Lighting Technician: Zheng Yongfa
Costume Director: Peng Zhonglin
Costume Coordinators: Ning Fangguo, Shun Haisong
Costume Manager: Yu He, Guo Chunhui, Zhang Chengli
Sound Coordinator: Wang Bin
Sound Effects: Wang Lei
Sound Operators: Rong Hua, Li Jin
Prop Managers: Zuo Weichen, Zhang Lipei
Scene Painting: Li Ming
Mould Making: Yuan Wenbin
Helmet: Liu Xueli, Xu Lin, Ying Yutian, Wang Fuyong
Sanyi: Gu Quanfu
Make-up: Dong Shihua, Gao Yiwei
Stage Crew: Zou Chunlai, Zhang Xinguo, Hu Qiongjian, He Changgui, Jiang Heng, Cheng Hainan, Li Liang, Dong Li
Subtitle: Ma Tao

Publicity Coordinators: Zhu Jing, Ren Yi, Wu Wenting, Wen Tianyi
Publicity Design: Li Xiaofan, Bai Yang
Translation Service: Guo Xiaoli, Suo Ying, Liu Jing, Cui Zheng, Li Yaqing, Han Jingjing
Documentary: Gao Hong, Wang Xiaoshuang

Zhuge Liang Yu Kuizhi, Zhang Jianfeng |  Cao Cao Wang Yue |  Zhou Yu Li Hongtu
Xiao Qiao Li Shengsu, Dou Xiaoxuan |  Sun Quan Chen Junjie |  Lu Su Du Zhe
Zhang Zhao Zhu Qiang |  Yu Fan Huang Boxue |  Bu Zhi Huang Yanzhong
Xue Zong Zhang Kai |  Emperor Su Congfa |  Huang Gai Meng Xianteng
Sung Shangxiang Zhang Shujing |  Mei Xiang Chen Zhang Xia |  Curtain Zhang Xuran
Straw-man Cao Yangyang

Theme Song: Wang Yige
Dancers, generals of Wu's and Cao's troops, women folks, imperial concubines, soldiers, and common people are played by performers of Peking Opera Theatre

Peking Opera Orchestra:
Main Drummers:
Su Guangzhong (first-grade performer)
Jin Huiwu (first-grade performer)
Zhang Shunxiang (first-grade performer)
Wang Fulong (first-grade performer)
Erhu: Zhen Ruifen
Yueqin: Li Xuejuan
Bandore: Ai Zaosheng
Dayuan: Jiang Qi
Zhongyuang: Ding Rui

Sheng: Nie Yunlei
Pipa: Zhao Xin
Percussion: Wang Haijun, Sun Yu, Wang Songhai, Wang Wei
Suona: Sun Yungang
Zheng: Shang Jingya
Bass Drum: Hu Qiuyue
Double-Bass: Liu Qihan

Peking Opera Stage Crew:
Peng Zhonglin, Sun Haisong, Yu He, Guo Chunhui, Zhang Chengli, Liu Xueli, Xu Lin, Ying Yutian, Zhao Shuangxi, Dong Shihua, Gao Yiwei, Zhang Lipei, Gui Quanfu,Wang Fuyong

Presented by:
National Centre for the Performing Arts

Produced by:
National Centre for the Performing Arts &
Peking Opera Theatre

Credits to:
E. Boehm, Text Editing & -Refining


At the Cross Roads

In the Northern Song Dynasty General Jiao Zan is exiled to a desert island after being framed for a crime. Yang Yanzhao, of the famous and upright Yang Family, orders Warrior Ren Tanghui to trail after Jiao Zan to protect him. When Jiao Zan comes to rest in a restaurant in the Crossroads, the owner of the restaurant mistakes Ren Tanghui for an assassin set to murder Jiao Zan. As the misunderstanding ensues, the two fight fiercely in the dark.



Autumn River

In the Song Dynasty, Scholar Pan Bizheng, nephew of an old nun, while preparing for the official exam at the nunnery, becomes acquainted and falls in love with Chen Miaochang, a young and well-educated nun. The old nun is furious and forbids them to continue their relationship, and forces Pan Bizheng to leave for Linan. Upon hearing this, Chen runs away from the nunnery in pursuit of Pan Bizheng. By the side of the Qiujiang River, she meets a jocular, elderly boatman, who intentionally delays her with tricks. Eventually, the boatman helps Chen Miaochang catch up with her lover.



Farewell My Concubine

At the end of the Qing Dynasty, the Chu and Han states are at war. A leader in the Hang state Han Xin pretends to surrender to the military leader of the Chu state Xiang Yu. Xiang Yu orders his soldiers to invade Han Xin's territory. Han Xin then ambushes Xiang Yu at Shili Mountain. While trapped, he hears a song of the Chu state and wonders if the Han soldiers have been defeated, however it is just a trick. Realizing the dire situation that has befallen them, Xiang Yu's concubine commits suicide to help her master escape. Xiang Yu then arrives at the Wu River, is too ashamed to face the villagers and also commits suicide by the river.



Presenting a Pearl on the Rainbow Bridge

This play originates from a fairy tale. A celestial maiden Lingbo admires a young scholar named Bai Yong for his talents. One day they unexpectedly met on the Rainbow Bridge and it is love at first sight! The celestial maiden Lingbo sends Bai Yong a pearl symbolizing their eternal love. However, this union goes against the rules of Heaven; God Erlang leds Samharam, Nezha and other heavenly soldiers to capture the celestial maiden Lingbo. Lingbo leads the water goblins, defeats God Erlang and eventually marries Bai Yong.


The Peking Opera Red Cliff Achieves Great Success on Its First European Tour

On the night of July 10th, 2012, the Peking Opera Red Cliff, a production of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, finished its last performance at the National Theatre of Prague, marking a successful conclusion of its European tour. With thunderous standing ovations, it seemed that both audience members and performers didn't want an end to this spectacular performance.

The actors step out for the closing stage of the Peking Opera Red Cliff at the National Theatre Prague.
( Photographer: Luo Xiaoguang )

Organized by Wu Promotion, the Peking Opera Red Cliff toured three different countries: Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, from June 27th to July 11th, giving performances in the gorgeous theatres of Burgtheater Wien, the Hungarian State Opera House and the National Theatre Prague. It fully represented the distinctive charms and traditional characteristic of Peking Opera and aroused acclaim in each of the local areas. On July 2nd, the ensemble of the renowned Peking Opera Theatre performed at the Burgtheater Wien, also presenting extracts from four classical masterpieces: At the Cross Roads, Autumn River, Farewell My Concubine and Presenting a Pearl on Rainbow Bridge.

The renowned former professor in the music department of Vienna Conservatory said to the journalist: "It's really amazing and incredible that Chinese traditional culture has come to visit Vienna from the far eastern country. I watched Peking Opera in Beijing 20 years ago, but I never imagined I could also have a chance to see it in my hometown. The skillful performers and the techniques of Peking Opera cannot be replaced by other artistic forms in the world. Different from the western opera, the performers of Peking Opera are required comprehensive abilities. I was very impressed by today's performance."

Red Cliff, a production of the National Centre for the Performing Arts and the Peking Opera Gala,
put on by the Peking Opera Theatre performs for the Peking Opera Festival at the Burgtheater Wien.
( Photographer: Luo Xiaoguang )

"This is a splendid art form rather than a mere performance for the audiences. Peking Opera is quite different from the opera in the western countries. I believe that each audience member including myself found the performance extremely memorable. "said Szilveszter Ókovács , the director of the Hungarian State Opera House.

During the performance period, Czech president Václav Klaus was on a visiting tour through Asia; he sent a congratulatory greeting which presented his firm belief. He thinks that the cultural festival represents the good wishes of Czechs and Chinese people and will help them develop a better relationship and a deeper understanding of one another.

The Peking Opera Red Cliff won full houses in three different countries during its European tour. The foreign audiences' understanding of the story exceeded expectations. Their eyes were fixated on the performance which lasted almost three hours. The six exciting acts included: Punitive Expedition Sets Off; A Battle of Words; Alliance Forged; Boats Thatched to Receive Arrows; All Set for Combat, Awaiting an Easterly Wind and Raging Fire at Red Cliff. Apart from the performance itself, the artistic design of the stage was especially exquisite.

The dynamic characters presented onstage included the intelligent and wise Zhuge Liang, the talented and gallant Zhou Yu, and the generous and courageous Cao Cao. Alena Hanáková, Czech Republics's Minister of Culture said, "At first sight, you may feel remote and unfamiliar, however, from an artistic point of view, no matter how far the distance and how different the cultural backgrounds are, there are still so many things in common between the two countries."

The Red Cliff's European tour has attracted many media both from home and abroad to report on this cultural event. One day before the performance, the Hungarian National Television invited staff from the National Centre for the Performing Arts to join the program recording which let audiences have a taste of the charms of Red Cliff before the performance. On the day of performance, the Czech National Television recorded the entire performance to provide more opportunities for the local people to enjoy traditional Peking Opera. Chinese media including News Agency, CCTV and Guangming Daily also recorded this cultural event to be broadcasted later for viewers at home. This is the first time that Peking Opera presents itself in Europe at such a large scale and high level. It is also exceptionally significant for the promotion of traditional Chinese arts and enhancing the influence of Chinese culture overseas.