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Taiwan arts centers to show time-themed programs, music in spring season

02/09/2024 10:56 AM
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A scene from Michael Keegan-Dolan's "MÁM." Photo by © Ros Kavanagh, courtesy of NTCH
A scene from Michael Keegan-Dolan's "MÁM." Photo by © Ros Kavanagh, courtesy of NTCH

Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) The cultural institutes under the National Performing Arts Center in Taipei and Taichung will present time-themed programs and a feast of musical events in Kaohsiung during their spring season.

In Taipei, the National Theater and Concert Hall (NTCH) will present the 16th edition of the Taiwan International Festival of Arts, exploring "the theatrical multiverse" and taking its audience to "travel through" the past, present and future, according to the 36-year-old arts center.

"Time is a very interesting concept, because it is often not linear in theater works," NTCH General and Artistic Director Liu Yi-ruu (劉怡汝) said when unveiling the arts center's offerings in November. "We bring the best performances around the world to Taiwan, and introduce the best shows in Taiwan to the world."

The NTCH plans to present 14 productions between Feb. 23 and May 11, and the first production to be staged will be the Irish dance group Teaċ Daṁsa and its founder Michael Keegan-Dolan's "MÁM" on Feb. 23-25.

The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom described the show in its review when the piece was put on at the Sadler's Well Theatre in London as a "spellbinding gathering of music and memories" in 2020.

The arts center in Taipei will also stage on April 12-14 German theater group Rimini Protokoll's "This Is Not an Embassy" directed by Stefan Kaegi, following its ongoing four-city premiere tour in Europe, which started during the Berliner Festspiele in the German capital in late January.

The work, performed by three Taiwanese -- a former ambassador, a non-governmental organization worker and a musician coming from a family running the world's largest suppliers of bubble tea-related products -- was created by Kaegi after he interviewed 70 people during the two months when he was an artist-in-residence in NTCH, the director said.

To mark its 35th anniversary, Dance Forum Taipei is partnering up with Dance Theatre Heidelberg to perform "Firebird & Rite of Spring" by the German dance group's Artistic Director Iván Pérez.

Conductor Chien Wen-pin (簡文彬) will lead the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra to perform the music composed by Igor Stravinsky live with the dance groups, whose performance on May 10-11 will conclude the arts festival.

A scene from "Firebird & Rite of Spring." Photo by ©Susanne Reichardt, courtesy of NTCH
A scene from "Firebird & Rite of Spring." Photo by ©Susanne Reichardt, courtesy of NTCH


The National Taichung Theater (NTT), which opened in 2016 in central Taiwan, will present the second edition of its "Arts NOVA" series with 11 productions from March 3-June 9, it told CNA.

"It's About TIME," wrote NTT General and Artistic Director Joyce Chiou (邱瑗) in an introduction to this year's spring series. "Theater is an art of time, taking us on a journey from past to present, compressing years and months, sometimes even breaking free of chronological constraints, allowing us to dream, to imagine, to engage in whimsical dialogue with different dimensions."

This year's Arts NOVA will open with the production "Time" by Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto and visual artist Shiro Takatani.

A press photo of "TIME" released on Feb. 5, 2024. Photo courtesy of National Taichung Theater, by ©Sanne Peper
A press photo of "TIME" released on Feb. 5, 2024. Photo courtesy of National Taichung Theater, by ©Sanne Peper

The New York Times said the work is "a 'Mugen Noh,' a subset of Noh theater based on dreams" when the production premiered in the Netherlands in 2021.

Noh is a traditional Japanese theatrical form, in which performers are storytellers who use visual appearances and movements to suggest the essence of their tale, instead of enacting it.

The production to conclude the NTT's Arts NOVA is its artist-in-residence Chen Wu-kang's (陳武康) "Dance a Dance to Remember," performed by the dance group he co-founded in 2004.

The piece to be staged on June 8-9 was created by Chen's field research on Southeast Asian's various idea about death, migration and being separated from someone, according to the NTT.


Meanwhile, the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, which is locally known as "Weiwuying," will present programs of both pop and classical music after the Lunar New Year holiday.

The series of program will begin with the third annual edition of "Masters Play," which features Mandopop songs written by Johnny Chen (小蟲) this year, according to Weiwuying,

Where Chow (周蕙) is this year's guest singer, who will perform on Feb. 24-25 with the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra conducted by Chien, general and artistic director of the arts center in Kaohsiung.

Chien and the orchestra will then perform Ludwig van Beethoven's opera Fidelio in a concert on March 1, with an all Taiwanese cast of singers, before Weiwuying presents its annual "24 Hours Series" featuring Beethoven from 4:30 p.m. on March 2 to 5 p.m. on March 3.

The musicians in two of Weiwuying venues will perform select pieces and all nine symphonies composed by Beethoven during the time, the Kaohsiung arts center said.

It will also host its annual Weiwuying Organ Festival from March 15-17, featuring the largest pipe organ in Asia, and then the 2024 Weiwuying International Music Festival from April 12-21.

"Asia's forefront female composer" Unsuk Chin serves as the music festival's artistic director since the event's launch in 2022 and she is again joined by her pianist husband Maris Gothoni as an artistic advisor for the second year.

Shows in common

The arts centers in Taipei and Taichung will jointly present the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's "Lunar Halo," which was staged abroad for the first time during the dance troupe's European tour in December.

"Lunar Halo," choreographed by Cloud Gate Artistic Director Cheng Tsung-lung (鄭宗龍), premiered during the 2019 Taiwan International Festival of Arts. It features music tailored for the piece by Icelandic rock band "Sigur Rós."

The piece was inspired by the phenomenon of a ring of light around the moon Cheng observed during a trip to Iceland, and it will be staged at the National Theater in Taipei on March 7-10, and at the National Taichung Theater on March 23-24. 

Source: Cloud Gate

Meanwhile, the NTCH will present from March 16-23 another work of Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, titled "KAGAMI" (mirror in Japanese), as a tribute to him following his death in March 2023.

"KAGAMI" is a "mixed reality recital" that "features Sakamoto performing ten of his iconic pieces," according to the organizers.

Source: NTCH

In addition to the performance in Taipei, Rimini Protokoll will take "All right. Good night." to the National Taichung Theater on May 24-26.

The theater show by German director Helgard Haug weaves together the vanishing of Malaysian Airlines' flight MH370 in 2014 with her father's gradual decline from dementia, according to a report by the Guardian in 2023, when Rimini Protokoll performed it during the Manchester international festival in July that year.

(By Kay Liu)


Source: Fundación Teatro a Mil
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