PAINTED SKIN: A Chamber Opera

The US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music

Thursday, October 13 at 7pm


Tickets: $25/$45 ($10 student price with ID)

Hao Weiya, composer
Wang Yuanfei, librettist
Michael Hofmann, director
Jindong Cai, conductor
Based on a story by Pu Songling (1640-1715)

Painted Skin is composer Hao Weiya’s modern operatic interpretation of a haunting story from Strange Tales of Liao Zhai (1740), a famous collection of renowned Qin Dynasty author Pu Songling’s ghost stories from the early 18th century.

Hao Weiya’s operatic adaptation combines a Western compositional approach with stylistic elements of Peking Opera to tell this supernatural horror story in a uniquely modern way. The China Now Music Festival’s production of Hao’s opera, directed by Michael Hofmann and conducted by Jindong Cai, transports the setting to a present-day American university, to further explore the cross-cultural approach suggested by Hao’s stylistic choices.

The story revolves around a trio of characters: the scholar Wang (mezzo-soprano Kristin Gornstein), his wife Chen (coloratura soprano Holly Flack), and the unnamed, beguiling demon that comes between them (Kunqu opera singer Qian Yi). The singers are accompanied by a 20-piece Chinese orchestra.

At its core, Painted Skin takes a critical stance on how easily and often men in power submit to their sexual desires in spite of their existing relationships or commitments, and offers a deadly fate for those who act on those base impulses.

Hudson Hall’s programs are made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.