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Scenes from Hutong, an opera-in-progress


1) Hutong (simplified Chinese: 胡同; traditional Chinese: 衚衕 or 胡同; pinyin: hútòng) are a type of narrow lane or alleyway in a traditional residential area of a Chinese city, especially Beijing.

2) Hutong, an opera by Kui Dong, Libretto by Monica Datta and dramaturg Paul Schick, Story by Monica Datta.

Hutong is a comic opera in fifteen parts about the whimsical nature of urban coincidence and the white space between vignettes. Set during a late summer in Beijing.

Beijing, the capital city of China has over 3,000 years of history. Unfortunately, the quest for modern high-rise apartment buildings, offices and shopping malls has destroyed many authentic hutongs located in prime areas of Beijing’s city center.

The opera is a day in the fantasy life of a hutong, peopled by a disparate array of characters: a blind Norwegian sailor, the Beijing police department, assorted international architects, some children, a frog, all presided over by the Fenghuang, or phoenix.

Other Minds, in collaboration with Cinnabar Theater and Dartmouth College is presenting scenes in workshop from the opera-in-progress, Hutong, by award-winning Chinese American composer, Kui Dong. Her work spans diverse genres and styles and include ballet, orchestral and chamber works, chorus, electro-acoustic music, film scores, and multi-media art, and free improvisation with a unique synthesis of influences from avant-garde experimental, jazz, electro-acoustic, and ethnic music.

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