Qian Yi singing the lead role, Du LiNiang,
in The Peony Pavilion
at the Festival d'Automne in Paris.
The Peony Pavilion
In 1999, Lincoln Center Festival staged an historic production of the
classic Ming dynasty opera, The Peony
Ting). The 19-hour epic was staged in its entirety
for the first time in over 200 years. Qian
Yi was cast in the lead role of Du Liniang,
the cloistered daughter of a rural official, who dreams of a lover in
a neglected garden and dies pining. Returning from the underworld, she
is resurrected and ultimately united with the young scholar of her dream.
Critical acclaim for the production came from almost
every corner and the production traveled internationally for five years.
Tang Xianzu, a
contemporary of Shakespeare, wrote The
Peony Pavilion, which is considered the preeminent
work in the Kun Opera (Kunqu) repertoire. Kunqu
is a classical court form of Chinese opera that predates and was a precursor
to Peking Opera. With its melodious arias accompanied by string and wind
instruments, Kunqu has many similarities with western Opera. The stage
action, however, is much more theatrical, combining dance, music and poetry.
In 2001, UNESCO proclaimed Kunqu to be one of the world’s most remarkable
examples of the oral and intangible heritage.
In ancient times, Chinese operas were performed over a number of days.
However, before Lincoln Center's production, The
Peony Pavilion was only being performed in excerpted
episodes in modern China. As a result of the Lincoln Center production,
many partial and complete productions of The
Peony Pavilion have been performed in recent
The 19 hour epic lead by Qian Yi was seen
and loved by audiences around the world.
Lincoln Center Festival 1999
Festival d'Automne Paris 1999
Caen Festival 1999
Milan Art Festival 1999
Perth Music Festival 2000
Aarhus International Art Festival 2000
Berlin Music Festival 2002
Vienna Art Festival 2002
Singapore Biennial 2003
Spoleto Festival USA 2004
DVD of the performance was released by RM Associates in 2000.
In the New York Times Magazine, James Oestreich
said "She is now China's
reigning opera princess, and in 'The Peony Pavilion' her talents are in
Acclaim for The Peony Pavilion
The New York Times Magazine
"Painting a Princess" by James Oestreich
"At 23, she is now China's reigning opera princess, and in
'The Peony Pavilion' her talents are in full flower."
New York Magazine
Peter G. Davis
Wen Yu Hang and Qian Yi Perform with extraordinary discipline,
a focused concentration that never threatens to falter for a moment throughout
this huge epic. Their skill is awesome and their ferocious belief in the
material is infectious.
The Wall Street Journal
Her armory of gestures and expressions seems endless. And she uses
them to show the metamorphosis of her character.
The New York Times
[A] radiant and energetic performance throughout the six segments.
The Los Angeles Times
Qian Yi is a radiant presence and sings aria after aria
after aria with heavenly poise.
The New York Times
She is a graceful charmer The body is discreet but the eyes
speak ambiguously of both innocence and knowingness.
The Wall Street Journal
Thus has the 24 year old Ms. Qian come to captivate New York audiences long
standing ovations that have greeted her performances will undoubtedly
be moments she will treasure forever.
New York Post
Qian Yi, celebrated in China and the only one of the original cast
to make it to the U.S. She is a sight to melt the heart.
Headed by the radiant actress Qian Yi from last years cast,
the performers are uniformly devoted.
Qian Yi as the ghost of Du Liniang in the
David Patrick Stearns
Female lead Qian yi matched her rarified vocal grace with physicality
that suggest weightlessness Part 3 when she returns as a ghost has
some of her most ethereal singing.
Staten Island Advance
Michael J. Fressola
A new star, the poised and beautiful young singer and actress Qian
Yi ascended during the course of the evening and a powerful transformation
occurred in the audience In the West, singers dont worry much
about how they look when singing a demanding aria. Miss Yi, who is some
sort of wide ranging soprano, can sing with power and nuance without disarranging
her lovely smile.
The music especially Dus snaking aria sung by the slender
siren voice of Qian Yi had a tender allure.
Shanghai Journal of Culture
"A Du Liniang Crosses Centuries", Reng Zhi Chu
"Qian Yi brings to life Du Liniang and revitalizes Tang Xianzu's
16th century masterpiece"
Eye one The Arts, Celia Ipiotis
When she sang of her great loss, Qian Yis voice brought tears
to my eyes. The lyrical sounds she exhaled were like the those private
sighs and wails that stir ones temples and extinguish all hope.
The Village Voice
The young heroine Du Liniang - spellbindingly sung by Qian Yi.