The National Commission for Culture and the Arts

The Cultural Center of the Philippines

The Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China and

The Embassy of China in the Philippines




October 27 & 28, 2016 | 8:00PM

Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater)




The ballet Raise the Red Lantern was created and premiered in 2001. Lead by National Ballet of China’s former director Madam Zhao Ruheng, the company invited a diverse group of world renowned artists, including the film director Zhang Yimou, composer Qigang Chen from France, choreographer Xinpeng Wang from Germany and Wang Yuanyuan, stage designer Zeng Li and the French costume designer Jérôme Kaplan. This international creative team conceived and produced this modern ballet fusing cinema, shadow play, Peking opera and all sorts of Chinese culture elements with western ballet vocabulary.


Apart itself from other ballets, this is a diverse creation with strong visual impacts and dramatic force. In over 50 years of the company history, Raise the Red Lantern was a new experiment and fresh model of collaboration, which provide precious experiences for further creative works of the company. Since its premiere the ballet has been presented all over the world for more than 400 performances. It was selected in the “National Program for Excellent Stage Art”, and has become an internationally acclaimed Chinese ballet.



Raise the Red Lantern

A Ballet in Three Acts

Based on Su Tong’s novel Wives and Concubines

Adapted from Zhang Yimou’s movie of the same name


Librettist/Director/Artistic Director: Zhang Yimou

Producer: Zhao Ruheng

Music by Qigang Chen

Choreographers: Xinpeng Wang(Original) and Wang Yuanyuan

Stage Designer: Zeng Li

Costume Designer: Jérôme Kaplan

Lighting Designer: Zhang Yimou

Assistants to Choreographer: Monica Fotescu-Uta and Fei Bo

Theatrical Advisor: Wang Zhiming

Peking Opera Advisors: Gao Mukun and Ma Shuai

Assistant to Composer: Bi Siyue

World Premiere: National Ballet of China, Tianqiao Theater, May 2nd, 2001


National Ballet of China Artistic Director: Feng Ying

Guest Performers: China National Peking Opera Company





1920s, China. In a quiet courtyard a young girl is forced into a bridal palanquin. She is going to be the second concubine of the Master of the house. Before getting into the palanquin, she remembers her childhood lover – a young actor from a Peking Opera group (Xi Ban).


Act I

In the happy and joyful atmosphere of the wedding, the wife and the first concubine welcome the second concubine of the master of the house into the family with complex emotional undertones.  The wedding night, despite her desperate resistance, the bride is finally overcome by her tragic destiny.


Act II

The master passes time with his wives by watching Peking Operas and playing mah-jong. The second concubine sneaks out for a while to meet her former lover. But their secret is discovered by the first concubine who has ulterior motives.



The two lovers continue their love affair in secret. The first concubine tells the master about their affair. The master catches the two lovers who bravely confess without hesitation. The first concubine tries to use this occasion to renew her favor of the master. However, instead of that she receives a heavy slap on the face from the master who is beyond himself. Driven by depression, she grabs the lighting stick, which symbolized the master’s power over his household and lights all the red lanterns hanging in her yard. In great fury, the master orders his minions to execute the first concubine who dares to break his house law.



The two lovers and the first concubine are taken to the execution ground. Facing death, they forget their hostilities, and reconcile with each other.  In tolerance and affection, they embrace together. Feudalism strangles their young lives and beautiful love.



The National Ballet of China was founded in December of 1959. All of National Ballet of China’s outstanding artists come from professional academies. During decades of care and support from the government and friends from all social sectors, the company has never ceased enriching its solid Russian foundations with works of different schools and styles. The company’s repertoire includes classics like Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Giselle, Carmen, Onegin, and The Little Mermaid, as well as original creations like The Red Detachment of Women, The New Year Sacrifice, Yellow River, Raise the Red Lantern, The Peony Pavilion, The Chinese New Year and The Crane Calling. By both performing Western ballets and creating works of its own with distinct national characteristics, the company has found a successful path for the development of Chinese ballet. It is fusing the classical and the modern, and cultures from all over the world.


Over more than 50 years, the company is proud to have made great achievements in talent training and stage productions, as well as in ballet promotion and education. Numerous ballet dancers, choreographers, musicians and stage artists have won major international awards, and have collaborated with international stars in their respective fields. The company has a repertoire of nearly 200 ballets, several of which are now known as classic Chinese works of art, and have become famous internationally.


As a world-renowned company with great international influence, the National Ballet of China serves as a cultural envoy and an important window to the nation, spreading the essence of Chinese culture. Meanwhile, it also endeavors to present high-class performances to the Chinese audience, and to promote the art form in universities, communities and among children. In accordance with their motto “United, Pragmatic, Independent, and Enterprising”, the company members are following the steps of their hard-working predecessors to make great strides in realization of their dreams. Currently, Feng Ying, a well-known ballerina and ballet mistress in China is the Executive Director and the Artistic Director.



Zhang YimouBorn in Xi’an, in November 1951, Zhang Yimou is an internationally-acclaimed Chinese filmmaker, cinematographer and actor. His career began with the Guangxi Film Studio as a cinematographer in 1982, when he graduated from the Department of Cinematography of the Beijing Film Academy.


In 1984, his work Yellow Earth received Best Cinematography at the 5th China Golden Cock Award. He was an actor in Old Well, which won him Best Actor at the 1st Tokyo International Film Festival in 1986. In 1987 his directorial debut Red Sorghum won the Golden Bear at the 38th International Film Festival of West Berlin. In 1990, Ju Dou received Louis Benuel Special Prize at Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated the Best Foreign Film at the 63rd Annual Academy Award. Raise the Red Lantern, which was based on Su Tong's novel Wife and Concubines, was released to international acclaim in 1991, winning the Grand Prize of the World Film Critics Association at the 44th Venice International Film Festival. In 1992, The Story of Qiu Ju won the Golden Lion and Best Actress at the 49th Venice Film Festival. In 1998, Not One Less received Best Film and Best Direction at China Government Award. In 1999, The Road Home was awarded Best Film and Best Direction at both China Golden Cock Award and China Hundred Flowers Award. In 2005, Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles was a winner of Best Asian Film at the 26th Hong Kong Film Festival. In 2010, Under the Hawthorn Tree received Best Film at the 14th China Government Award. In 2014, Home Coming broke the box office record of literary films, and won the Best Film at the 6th Macau International Film Festival.


In 1993 he received The Order of Arts and Letters of France. In 1995, Montreal International Film Festival awarded him one of “World Ten Best Directors”. In the same year, he received “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Hawaii International Film Festival. In 2008 he received the Honorary Doctorate from Boston University and The Peabody Award.


In 1997 Zhang directed Puccini's opera Turandot. He directed the ballet version of Raise the Red Lantern in 2001 and a folk musical, Impression•Sanjie Liu with an outdoor scenic setting in Guilin in 2003. As the chief director, he successfully directed the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing in August, 2008.





On October 27 (Diplomat’s Gala) and 28 (People’s Gala), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China with the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China present the National Ballet of China’s RAISE THE RED LANTERN, as part of a bilateral cultural exchange program. The Diplomats Gala is invitational while the Sponsors Gala is free and open to the public. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis at the CCP Box Office from October 25 (Tuesday) from 9:00AM to 6:00PM. To claim tickets, please present your ID. Each person is entitled to only 2 tickets.



For those who wish to have assured seats, special individual sponsorship packages are available. For more information, please call the CCP Sales and Promotions office at 832-3706.





1. Tickets of invited guests will be distributed at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo Lobby two hours before the show.



2. Most of the tickets to the performances of "Raise the Red Lantern" have been committed. However, ADDITIONAL TICKETS MAY BE RELEASED ON DAY OF THE PERFORMANCE ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS IF INVITED GUESTS DO NOT ARRIVE.