The Kennedy Center


CPAA Productions Ltd Presents Image China: Xuanzang's Pilgrimage

Friday, January 25, 2019 - Sunday, January 27, 2019

China Performing Arts Agency brings the U.S. premiere of Xuanzang's Pilgrimage to the Kennedy Center Opera House in January 2019.

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China Performing Arts Agency presents
Image China: Xuanzang's Pilgrimage

Xuanzang's Pilgrimage is China's first traditional concert drama performed by the China National Traditional Orchestra (CNTO). It tells the story of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang (602-664) who travelled the length of the Silk Road across China on a pilgrimage to India. Xuanzang documented his experiences of the differences within Buddhism that he encountered along the way. His 17-year journey was driven by his desire to discover religious texts that had not yet come from India to China. The story is brought to life with an 80-piece traditional Chinese orchestra, 24 performers, and elaborate costumes.

The production showcases the diverse yet connected cultures found along the legendary Silk Road, combining music from China's Han, Uyghur, Kazak, Tajik, and other ethnic groups, and features exotic instruments such as the zither, Chinese harp, dulcimer, and eagle flute. Combining elements of Chinese and Indian heritage to tell this international story, Xuanzang's Pilgrimage is a large-scale multimedia experience from one of China's most notable cultural organizations. Live musicians, striking, colorful design, and an epic story combine to make this an unforgettable event for audience members.

The CNTO was founded in Beijing in 1960 and has received wide acclaim for its innovative presentations. The orchestra highlights traditional Chinese musical themes while incorporating modern technology into its productions. Stunning projections create an immersive atmosphere and provide a fitting backdrop for the elaborate costumes.

Xuanzang's Pilgrimage is part of Image China, a high-level cultural exchange program presented by China Arts and Entertainment Group that introduces traditional and contemporary Chinese performing arts to audiences around the world.

Performance Timing: Part One - 60 min.; Intermission - 20 min.; Part Two - 50 min.

NOTE: Composer/Writer/Director Jiang Ying, Conductor Liu Sha, and featured musicians will sign merchandise following all performances in the Grand Foyer outside of the Opera House.