The Silk & Spices Festival
The annual Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Cultural Festival is in full swing. This year’s theme is Silk & Spices: A Cultural Festival Celebrating the Music & Arts of China. So far, the events have included a Utah Symphony performance, the celebration of the Chinese New Year at the Salt Lake Public Library, and a special lecture about the Silk Road at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.
Next week is the start of the festival’s film series which will include three films: The Turandot Project, Farewell My Concubine, and Hero.
The Turandot Project is a documentary about a special production of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Turandot” in 1998. Conducted by Zubin Mehta, the nine performances of the opera took place in the Forbidden City and required over six hundred extras. The documentary chronicles the backstage process, the trials of staging an opera out of a theatre, and the beauty of Ming Dynasty costumes. After the screening, Utah Opera Director Christopher McBeth will hold a Q&A and talk about the Utah Opera’s upcoming production of Turandot.
February 25 at 7:00 pm Salt Lake Public Library Auditorium Film length: 1 hour 25 minutes. More information: utahfilmcenter.org Free, but limited seating
The second film in the Silk & Spices Festival’s series is Farewell My Concubine, directed by Chen Kaige. Released in 1993, this film explores the lives between Peking opera stars Douzi and Shitou as they train in and survive the Chinese political chaos of the 1930s and 1940s. During the peak of their careers, Shitou meets and marries Juxian, a concubine. After this, the relationship between the childhood friends unravels, and they are separated until 1977 when they meet again to perform the opera “Farewell My Concubine.” Death and tragedy plague the main characters of this dramatic film. In 1993, the film won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.
March 2 at 6:00 pm Salt Lake Public Library Auditorium Film length: 2 hour 31 minutes. More information: utahfilmcenter.org Free, but limited seating
The final film in the Silk & Spices Festival’s series will be Hero. This film was released in 2002, but did not hit American theatres until 2004. This story follows the character Nameless (played by Jet Li) as he is trained to be a master swordsman. There have been three assassination attempts on the king’s life and the laws are changed so no one can get close to the king. Nameless claims to have killed the assassins, and the king allows him to approach to tell the story. During their talk, Nameless finally understands the mark of a true warrior even if it ultimately dooms him. This film was nominated for an Oscar in the 2003 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film, and director Zhang Yimou won Best Director from the National Society of Film Critics. After the film, fight choreographer Chris Duval from the University of Utah will hold a Q&A about stage and film combat.
April 22 at 7:00 pm Salt Lake Public Library Auditorium Film length: 96 minutes More information: utahfilmcenter.org Free, but limited seating
Join us for the chance to see these wonderful films and learn about the history and culture of China. For more information about these films and all the events of the Festival, please visit http://www.usuoeducation.org/index.php/adults/festival