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From caves to the stage

By Cheng Yuezhu | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-05-23 07:31

The story is set in the 1930s and centers on two main characters dedicated to the preservation of the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Northwest China's Gansu province. CHINA DAILY

The show's development also involved such veteran theater practitioners as director Chen Shizheng, dance director Jiang Yang and lighting designer Ren Dongsheng, as well as performers from theater troupes as the China Oriental Performing Arts Group. The production crew made field trips to Dunhuang 10 times since the project's conception in 2016.

"All three of us take it extremely seriously. San Bao jokingly said that the first script that Guan Shan wrote would take more than three months to perform. I suggested that we need only to capture the essence and cut down on the script," Li says.

Titled Flying Apsaras, the musical hosted concerts in 2023, presenting 14 original songs. And from April 25 to 27, the production premiered at Beijing's Poly Theatre in its full splendor.

Beginning from May 1 to 12, it was staged at the Dunhuang Grand Theater and then at the Lanzhou Concert Hall from May 15 to Sunday in Gansu's capital. It is also scheduled to run at the upcoming 18th Daegu International Musical Festival in South Korea and tour 13 Chinese cities with 50 performances starting from August.

The story is set in the 1930s and centers on two main characters — the guardian, who safeguards the murals from both natural disasters and human threats, and the traveler, who chances across a catalog of Dunhuang murals and decides to devote himself to the site's preservation.

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