February? Think Theatre
Whether you’re a self-confessed theatre-lover or a visitor simply seeking entertainment, Beijing’s National Centre for Performing Arts is the go-to attraction. Not only is it the most esteemed theatre in China, but it is also an incredible architectural feat by French designer Paul Andreu, which took no less than six years to complete. Often known simply as ‘the egg’, the ellipsoid dome made of titanium and glass sprawls over 217,000 sq m and houses five performance spaces, the most impressive of which are the grand silver-hued concert hall and the 2398-seat opera house stunningly decked out in red and gold.
Beeline to the box office to catch the all-female Russian dance troupe National Little Birch Tree (5-8 February), or warm up with the exciting Turkish Fire Dancing (12-15 February). First performed in 2001 and now one of the world’s most popular dance shows, TFD is an eclectic, riveting combination of majestic movement, soul-stirring drum beats and cultural dances, and which will be followed a few days and set changes later by serious drama Our Jing Ke (19-24 February). This masterpiece of Nobel-prized playwright Mo Yan portrays the thought-provoking story of the King of Qin’s assassination - an intense tale of wealth, honour, glory and fame. Equally dramatic, with an edge of tragedy and one of the most beautiful scores ever written, is the NCPA’s in-house production of Bizet’s world-renowned Spanish opera Carmen (21-24 February), with award-winning director Francesca Zambello and acclaimed conductor Zhang Guoyong at the helm. Book ahead.