Themed around Taiwan's unique moth orchid, the new Taiwanese opera "Aphrodite (阿婆蘭)," organized by the Chairperson of the National Culture and Arts Foundation (NCAF) Lin Mun-lee (林曼麗) under the Taiwan NOW arts project, debuted at the Weiwuying National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts on Dec. 25.
The play was co-created and co-produced by Japanese and Taiwanese artists. Japanese contemporary artist Miwa Yanagi (柳美和), who has long been fascinated by the natural ecology and folk activities of Taiwan, was invited to join hands with three major Taiwanese opera troupes in south Taiwan—Shiu-Kim Taiwanese Opera Troupe (秀琴歌劇團), Chun-Mei Taiwanese Opera Troupe (春美歌劇團), and Ming Hua Yuan Tian Zi Art and Culture Group (明華園天字戲劇團).
Others involved in the play included Taiwanese opera librettist and screenwriter Wang You-hui (王友輝), composer Chou Yi-chien (周以謙), arranger Chu Yun-Song (朱雲嵩), costume designer Chin Ping-ping (靳萍萍), choreographer Benson Tsai (蔡博丞), and others.
The play tells the story about the orchid immortals who have lived in the "Orchid Realm" since ancient times. A chance encounter with humans makes them become the attention of the world. The orchid flowers once isolated from the world all of a sudden turn into the target of poachers from all sides. The songs that were once sung on the island are gradually being lost as orchid genes are constantly being replicated. The human desire for pure white and beautiful flowers has led to the artificial reproduction of endless giant white orchids. The orchid immortals who have lost their voice can only look across the shore at their fate overturned by the changing times and the homeland to which they can never return.
After the performance, a lecture on cross-domain cooperation regarding the play was held on Dec. 26. The speakers included NCAF Chairperson Lin, librettist and screenwriter Wang, Associate Professor of the Department of Theatre Arts Lin Yu-pin (林于竝), Taiwan's renowned photographer Sheng Chao-liang (沈昭良), and Japanese artist Miwa Yanagi, who participated via video.
For more information about "Aphrodite," please click here.