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 programming is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of the Governor and the New York Legislature.