Assistant Professor Gwen Welliver of Florida State’s School of Dance has taken on a project as the choreographer for a new opera, Paradise Interrupted. Professor Welliver is a Bessie Award-winning performer and has worked on opera productions at La Monnaie, Festival d’Aix, and Spoleto Festival USA 2015. While choreographing Paradise Interrupted, Professor Welliver has the honor of working with world-renowned composer Huang Ruo and artistic director Jennifer Wen Ma, who was chief designer for visual and special effects at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
This upcoming production is an arresting new installation opera blending traditional classical Chinese idioms from the Ming Dynasty with Western operatic traditions. Based on a scene from the 1598 Kunqu or Kun opera The Peony Pavilion, Paradise Interrupted opens with a woman alone on stage. She meets her lover in an erotic dream, which triggers a passionate search for an unattainable ideal through a lush, interactive garden grown from dynamic paper sculptures. The romance soon becomes an empowering tale of self-actualization.
The Wall Street Journal considered Paradise Interrupted:
A mesmerizing new work that is part opera, part dynamic art installation.
Paradise Interrupted will show at The Lincoln Center Festival at the Gerald W. Lynch Theatre from July 13 -16, 2016 and the Singapore International Festival of Arts on August 31, September 2 -3, 2016.