Film director Zhang Yimou will stop shooting films in 2012, and will go to Britain to direct the opera Turandot as part of an art exhibition leading up to the 2012 London Olympics, West China City Daily reported on Friday.
Zhang Yimou will fill the role of chief director, and Placido Domingo will take on the music director position. The opera will debut at Wembley Stadium on June 23, 2012. Chen Xin and the Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group are responsible for the marketing of Turandot, and gave West China City Daily a brief phone interview. The opera will be performed by more than 600 Chinese and British artists, Chen added.
Reports said that the 63-year-old Zhang will challenge himself to direct a Peking opera for the first time, which will be staged in December.
"I haven't heard that Zhang Yimou is directing a Peking opera," Chen told West China City Daily. "But he will direct Turandot. This is certain. He has agreed to act as the chief director. The Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group formally signed a contract with Zhang several days ago."
When asked about Zhang's present condition, Chen said, "Director Zhang is in good spirits. He will be very busy this year. But he will not shoot any films in 2012. His main focus will be to recreate Turandot, the same opera he directed 14 years ago. In order to ensure its successful performance in London, Zhang led his working team to visit the performance site following the annual CPC and CPPCC sessions. He recently came back to Beijing and has been busy preparing for Turandot.
According to Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group, the new version of Turandot will infuse more Chinese elements
Turandot is a three-act opera adapted by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. Set in ancient China, the opera tells the story of a princess so beautiful that men traveled the world to seek her hand in marriage. Suitors were asked three riddles, and anyone who answered incorrectly was decapitated, and his head placed on a stake to serve as a warning to those still waiting to see the princess.