I, Hamlet with Chinese opera star Zhang Jun


Shanghai/New York: Future Histories

NEW YORK, January 9, 2017 — Chinese opera star Zhang Jun performs his virtuosic re-imagining of Shakespeare's Hamlet in a one-man contemporary performance titled I, Hamlet. (1 hr., 14 min.)

Free APAP Showcase

I, Hamlet is a virtuosic re-imagining of Shakespeare's Hamlet as a one-man contemporary performance starring Chinese opera star Zhang Jun. Rewritten in ancient Chinese prose and sung in the classical techniques of Chinese Kunqu opera, I, Hamlet juxtaposes Chinese and Western art forms. Adapting the Kunqu Opera style of monologue, Jun plays four roles – Hamlet, Ophelia, the ghost of Hamlet’s father and the gravedigger, while also drawing on traditional Chinese opera characters known as Sheng (male roles), Dan (female roles), Jing (painted roles) and Chou (clowns). Going beyond the story itself, this re-interpretation explores the inner world of Hamlet, as he battles with forces of light and darkness, life and death, love and revenge.

In Chinese with English subtitles.

About the artist:

Zhang Jun, UNESCO Artist for Peace, is officially ranked as China's national top-class performer. Born in Shanghai on October of 1974, Zhang successively graduated from Shanghai Drama School (1986-1994), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (1997-2000), and got his MFA Degree from Shanghai Theatre Academy (2006-2008). Zhang began learning Kunqu at the age of 12 and became a professional Kunqu actor in 1994.

Regarded as the Prince of Kunqu Opera, Zhang plays the "Hsiao Sheng" (young-man) role type of the 600-year-old Chinese Kunqu Opera, a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity proclaimed by UNESCO in 2001, and has acted many leading roles in famous Kunqu plays such as The Peony Pavilion, The Palace of Eternal Youth and The Jade Hairpin. Zhang has won China's national top performing award--the "Meihua (Plum Flower) Award" as well as many acting prizes and honorable titles including one of the "Shanghai Ten Outstanding Young Persons" in 2004, the Grand Prize of Performing & Promoting Kunqu by UNESCO in 2005, the "China National Young Cultural Elites" in 2006 and one of China's Best Ten Kunqu Opera Performers in 2007. Zhang has also played the leading role in Tan Dun's opera Marco Polo, which was nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award. Being recognized with his outstanding artistic achievements and endeavor to popularize Kunqu among the youth worldwide, Zhang Jun has been designated by UNESCO in 2011 as one of the UNESCO Artists of Peace.

Watch a trailer of I, Hamlet:

Shanghai / New York: Future Histories is a co-presentation by Asia Society and the China Shanghai International Arts Festival. I, Hamlet was commissioned by the 18th China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

Event Details

Mon 09 Jan 2017
8:30 - 9:45 p.m.

725 Park Avenue, New York, NY
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Free. Registration recommended.
Add to Calendar 20170110T013000 20170110T024500 UTC Asia Society: I, Hamlet with Chinese opera star Zhang Jun 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY
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