Selena Yu plays the guzheng during a press conference announcing the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater’s performance in Nanaimo and Victoria.

Selena Yu plays the guzheng during a press conference announcing the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater’s performance in Nanaimo and Victoria.

China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater coming to Nanaimo

Vancouver Island residents will have the rare opportunity to watch China National Opera and Dance Drama Theatre.

Vancouver Island residents will have the rare opportunity to watch top performers from China during a visit from the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater later this winter.

The company presents Melody of China at Victoria’s McPherson Playhouse Feb. 5 and Nanaimo’s Port Theatre Feb. 8.

“It’s an amazing event. Nanaimo is finally growing up and we are showing our true colours of multiculturalism,” said Nanaimo Coun. Jerry Hong. “There has always been a Chinese community within Nanaimo, but now I think it’s bringing it to the forefront onto a national and worldwide stage within Canada as well, so I am very ecstatic that we are getting this calibre of performance to Nanaimo.”

The visit by the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater was orchestrated by the Western Culture Foundation with support from CIBC and Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty to bring the company to Canada.

The tour also includes a performance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver on Feb. 5.

Erick Smithe, MC of the Melody of China press conference in Nanaimo, said the Chinese theatre company is a world-class outfit and it’s remarkable to have it come to Western Canada.

“It’s not always that places like Nanaimo are able to get these truly world- class  performances come,” said Smithe.

The performance will feature traditional instruments, some of which have had 2,000 years of continuous use, said Smithe.

He said there is no language requirement needed to enjoy the show.

“It will feature a lot of these instruments, a lot of people, particularly Western people, may not have heard of, or may have seen in a book or on a video, but never had the change to experience live in a concert with a true orchestra,” said Smithe. “It’s a great cultural event that happens to be from China, but it’s a significant in a world cultural heritage event coming to Nanaimo. And this music this troupe has actually been recognized as UNESCO as part of the intangible cultural heritage of China. It’s a real treat.”

The China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater was founded in 1951. According to the company’s website, since its creation the company has pushed boundaries in innovation and art development and launched more than 100 pieces such as The White Haired Girl, Xiao Erhei’s Marriage, Lotus Lamp and more.

For more information about the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater, please go to http://en.cnoddt.com.

Organizers of the Canadian tour are seeking sponsorship partners. For information about sponsorship opportunities, please call Minnie at 250-797-0968.

A charitable donation will be made to the Canadian Red Cross.

Ticket are $58 for VIP, which includes an invitation to a cocktail party, $38 for regular seating and $18 for balcony seating available in advance by calling 250-754-8550 or online at www.porttheatre.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com