One of the most anticipated event of the COC season is the staging of the “East Meets West” production of Handel’s Semele in Toronto. This production is directed by Chinese performance artist Zhang Huan. The centerpiece is a 450 year old temple from the Ming Dynasty that he purchased and used as the principal set for the opera. It had its premiere at the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels in 2009, subsequently travelling to the Beijing Music Festival in 2010, the first time a baroque opera was staged in China. The rather risque direction was rather sensational for China. Now it is coming to Toronto. I attended a media event in late April when the press was given a preview of the set, and it was impressive indeed. Here is a mini documentary made of the production’s visit to China in 2010, a tantalizing preview for the COC run that opens on May 9.
Joseph K. So