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Gala delves into a sea of myths to present a mountain of culture

By Wang Qian | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-01-17 07:45

Mountainsea Musical Evening depicts the stories in Shanhaijing onstage, and presents Eastern aesthetics to the audience.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The ancient Chinese myths featured in Shanhaijing, or The Classic of Mountains and Seas, have long inspired modern music. Mountainsea Musical Evening, a gala hosted by Henan Satellite TV and streaming platform Youku, is the latest example of how young musicians have interpreted the mythology in their lyrics.

Presented via extended reality technology, and with creative stage designs in line with the mythological tales, the gala was broadcast on Saturday evening — the day of "Little New Year", or xiaonian in Chinese, which is usually celebrated a week before Lunar New Year, which will fall on Sunday.

"Through the musical language, we tried to depict the stories in Shanhaijing onstage, presenting Eastern aesthetics to the audience," Zhou Jun, director of the gala, says, adding that, as a treasure in Chinese literature, the book is an encyclopedic collection describing faraway lands and the fantastical tribes residing in them, which shows Chinese people's romanticism, philosophy and values.

The show opened with Taiwan singer Kenji Wu's song, paying tribute to the legendary story of Kuafu, a man who aspired to chase the sun.

"We made a big adjustment to the ending of the story to mark the country's successful launch of Kuafu-1, a solar exploration satellite. Unlike the tragic hero in Shanhaijing, the Kuafu onstage does catch up with the sun," Zhou says, adding that, from the legend more than 2,500 years ago to the progress in space exploration the country has made today, it is amazing and they are proud to see the past and the present interact with each other in the performance.

Following the opening song, four chapters themed on the mythical creatures in Shanhaijing are unveiled, featuring pop songs and dances categorized as guochao, which refers to the modern trend toward Chinese cultural elements and traditional style. The ancient tales were staged with modern elements or interpretations.

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