As a prelude to the upcoming auspicious Year of the Pig, is a "world-class production of classical Chinese performing arts" that will be playing at the National Arts Centre next Friday, Jan. 12.
The Chinese New Year Spectacular is produced by New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV), a New York-based Chinese-language global network.
The show is in its fourth year travelling the world, said Joe Wang, president of NTDTV's Canadian branch.
"This year we have 28 cities worldwide, and over 70 shows, so the scale is unprecedented for a Chinese show globally," Wang said.
Based on gross sales, U.S.-based Billboard magazine ranked last year's production at New York's Radio City Music Hall the top 7th show internationally in February 2006.
Dr. Jean Zhi, who heads the Ottawa organizing committee, says that many Ottawa residents used to drive to New York or Toronto to watch the show. "We wanted more Ottawans to be able to enjoy the show in their own city," she said, "and we were thrilled that tickets sold out more than five weeks before the show!"
The Spectacular's theme is "Myths and Legends," said Zhou Yu, the Chicago-based overall coordinator of the performances.
"Over China's 5,000 years of history, there is a great deal of excellent subject matter to draw on," Zhou explained. "In every program we create, from the formality to the costumes, from the stage design to the background, from the dance and music to the meaning given to the audience, we aim to present the beauty, harmony, and traditional philosophies of ancient China."
Zhi noted that, over China's long history, each dynasty developed different styles of life and culture, but the enduring tradition is that of paying homage to Buddhas and gods, respecting Heaven, and advocating virtue, such as the qualities of honesty and kindness. Yet after the communist takeover in 1949, "through a series of political movements that included toppling temples, burning books, and driving scholars to work in the fields, there has been a tragic destruction to the traditional values and relics from ancient culture."
"NTDTV is endeavouring to reverse, in part, this loss," she said.
Wang added that "Nowadays, in mainland China particularly, what's presented is a combination of communist culture and some basic appearances of what people have gotten to know as traditional arts and culture. Our show attempts to revive them by consulting history, consulting experts, and removing the influence of the communist culture."
Referring to the beautiful performer wearing a gold crown and white gown featured on the Spectacular's promotional poster, Zhi explained that she is a Buddhist deity—a Bodhisattva—from the story "The Lion's Eyes Turn Red" from last year's production.
The Bodhisattva warned a kind village woman that a flood is coming and that everyone must flee when they see the eyes of the village's lion statue turn red. The woman warned the villagers, but some mocked her and in the night painted the eyes red. The woman and other villagers escaped to safety, while those who mocked the deity's warning perished.
"It is an ancient Chinese belief that good will be rewarded with good, and those who do evil will be punished," said Zhi. "Through the Spectacular's showcasing of classical performing arts and the ancient Chinese emphasis on virtue, NTDTV hopes to enhance understanding of the divine beauty of ancient Chinese culture."
"The Spectacular also attempts to foster understanding between Chinese and Western societies," Wang said, "which is part of NTDTV's mission." He added that "the essence of Chinese culture and values is basically humanity, and it's shared by many other cultures."
The Epoch Times is proud to join with New Tang Dynasty TV and Sound of Hope Radio in co-sponsoring NTDTV's Chinese New Year Spectacular ( http://shows.ntdtv.com. )