Sponsored by Chinese Academy of History & Xinhuanet, the grand epic music drama entitled “Tea culture tells story of Chinese civilization” was staged in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday.
The drama mainly centers around a dream of tea of protagonist Hua Yan, with whom the audience are taken to traverse a time span of important periods of tea culture, from Pangu separating heaven and earth to Tang, Song, Ming and Qing dynasties.
In the drama, Hua Yan first incarnated as Pangu, presenting the scene of creation of the world and witnessing the birth of the tea leaf. He then transformed into the mythological figure of Shennong, who tasted hundreds of herbs to cure the poisoned compatriots and finally spotted the divine grass, the tea.
In the prosperous Tang Dynasty, Hua portrayed Lu Yu, “the saint of tea”, experiencing his life of vicissitudes, and writing three volumes of Cha Jing. He then crossed to the Song Dynasty, in which the tea was popular among households before he finally passed through Ming and Qing dynasties, embarking on the journey on the Silk Road to disseminate Chinese tea culture across the world.
With Hua Yan’s experience, the audience can taste the essence of tea culture, which signifies nature, humanity and morality.
Following Hua’s footstep, the audience can also get to know abundant knowledge about tea making and drinking.
The drama is not simply about the dream of tea itself, but also the Chinese dream. It eulogizes the time-honored history of Chinese civilization, and embodies the national spirit of openness and inclusiveness, which awaken people’s reverence for and confidence in China’s profound history and culture.
Quite different from an opera in traditional sense, it combines multiple artistic expressions, such as symphony, dance and story line, with the technique of 3D holography being applied.
The wonderful show was well received by the audience who gave warm applause for the actors’ touching performances.
Famous literary commentator Zhong Chengxiang, who is also a member of the China Central Institute for Culture and History, Former Deputy Head of China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and former chairman of China Literary and Art Critics Association, said that the epic drama is excellent in theme and design, acknowledging that it is quite difficult to present a tea culture spanning thousands of years and convey the profundity of Chinese philosophy and aesthetics in the form of music drama.
Zhao Cong, the head of China National Traditional Orchestra and renowned pipa player, noted that “after watching the drama, I learned a lot about the tea culture,” adding that “It is of great significance to spread Chinese tea and culture by way of story-telling.”