By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Saturday, May 25th, and Sunday, May 26th, the National Ballet of China will be performing their acclaimed show “Lanternas Vermelhas” (Raise the Red Lantern) at the Theatro Municipal (Municipal Theater) in Rio’s city center.
The company is stopping over in Rio before heading on to São Paulo for four dates (Wednesday, May 29th to Sunday, June 2nd) then Curitiba for two dates (Wednesday, June 5th and Thursday, June 6th) before ending their Brazilian tour in Belo Horizonte with two performances of Swan Lake (Saturday, June 8th and Sunday, June 9th).
“Raise the Red Lantern” was first performed in China in 2001 and has since toured the world to sold-out audiences generating warm reviews.
Film director Zhang is also responsible for international blockbusters “Hero”, “House of the Flying Daggers”, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games.
He chose to bring in various elements from Chinese culture alongside the ballet, with the show including kung fu sequences, Chinese folk songs, innovative use of shadow play and other attention-grabbing techniques.
The story of “Raise the Red Lantern” unfolds in 1930s China. It centers around a young woman who is forced to become the third wife of an old feudal lord and housemate of his two jealous wives.
The four central characters spend their time playing mahjong and watching the Beijing opera. But during one of the performances, the third wife encounters her old lover who is in the cast of the opera and also an expert in martial arts.
The secret is eventually uncovered by the jealous wives, sending their husband into a rage and bringing the performance to its dramatic and bloody climax.
What: Balé Nacional da China – Lanternas Vermelhas
When: Saturday, May 25th, 8 PM; Sunday, May 26th, 3 PM
Where: Theatro Municipal, Praça Marechal Floriano, Centro
Entrance: Tickets from R$50; available here