Tang Xianzu the Playwright in Concert

Photo: Tang Xianzu


Over 100 talented musicians from the Symphony Orchestra and Opera of Shanghai Conservatory of Music (SHCM) will make their Australian debut in TANG Xianzu the playwright in concert this April.

Known as the Shakespeare of the East, Tang Xianzu is considered China’s greatest playwright. Tang is most famous for the Four Dreams —four works originally adapted to be performed as traditional Chinese operas (known as kunqu).

Tang the Playwright in Concert theatrically explores the different stages of Tang’s life with references to his four main plays, banded together under the name The Four Dreams of Linchuan. The individual plays are: Zi chai ji (The Purple Hairpin), Nan ke ji (A Dream Under a Southern Bough), Handan Meng (Dream of Handan), and, most famous of all, Mu Dan Ting (The Peony Pavilion). All four works were originally adapted to be performed as traditional Chinese operas.

Through a dream narrative, Tang explores in his first three plays the emotional dimension of human desires and ambitions, uncovering human nature beyond the social and political constraints of the feudal system of the time. Tang uses a similar dream motif adopted in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. First performed in 1598, The Peony Pavilion is a romantic tragicomedy, containing a grand total of 55 scenes.

The Shanghai Conservatory of Music (SHCM), formerly the National Conservatory of Music, was founded by Cai Yuanpei and Dr. Xiao Youmei in 1927 as China’s first music education institution of higher learning. Over 90 years of development, SHCM has become an internationally renowned music education institute with an emphasis on performing arts and music research.

Presented by Ausfeng


Symphony Orchestra of Shanghai Conservatory of Music
Composer: Xu Jianqiang
Scriptwriter: Lu JIayun
Producer: Lin Zaiyong
Conductor: Zhou Ke