Tan Dun’s ‘Buddha Passion’ To World Premiere in Dresden on May 23

By David Salazar

Tan Dun is set to world premiere his new opera “Buddha Passion” at the Dresden Music Festival this coming May 23, 2018.

The work is a joint commission by the Dresdner Musikfestspiele, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and will be sung in Chinese and Sanskrit. The work is written for seven soloists, chorus, and orchestra. The soloists include Sen Guo, Kang Wang, Shenyang, Huiling Zhu, Tan Weiwei, Batubagen, and Wenquing Shi.

The opera in six acts “weaves stories that have lived in the hearts and minds of the Eastern World for thousands of years.” Incidentally, it is the first “passion” story written about the lessons of Buddha and its music is inspired by the ancient city of Dunhuang and the Mogao Caves.

Per a press release, “Tan Dun spent two years locating, visiting, researching, and documenting the lost musical manuscripts from the Dunhuang Library Cave.”

Tan Dun is no surprise to the Dresden Festival as he won the Carl Maria von Weber prize there 35 years ago. As a result, he became the first Chinese composer allowed to travel abroad to receive the prize. “Now, finally, I come full circle and return to Dresden, 35 years later…I am so very grateful to the Dresden community for continuing to give me the opportunity to share my music with them,” the composer stated in the press release.