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Chinese Compass (1998)

Film length: 25 minutes
Actual performance length: 80 minutes

Recorded at Musikhuset Aarhus

Soloists: Shi Hong Mei (soprano), Berit Mæland (soprano), Annette L. Simonsen (contralto) and William Missin (countertenor)
Musicians: LIN ensemble: Jens Schou (clarinet), John Ehde (cello), Erik Kaltoft (piano) with guests Frans Hansen (percussion) and Yu Jun (Chinese Harp)
Narration: Carsten Jensen
Actor/dancer: Fang Yu
Participants: 46 children from Ingrid Jespersen's School, 5.x and 5.y (1999)

Direction: Kirsten Dehlholm
Music: Pierre Dørge
Text: Carsten Jensen
Light design: Jesper Kongshaug
Choreography: Christine Meldal
Scenography: Maja Ravn & Kirsten Dehlholm
Dramaturgy research: Willie Flindt
Dramaturgy: Claus Lynge
Musical dramaturgy: Peter Hanke
Image adaption: Signe Krogh, Anton Liep, Jesper Kongshaug
Sound design: Ole Chr. Hansen

Like the Chinese yin yang, the performance emerges from distinct oppositions: lightness versus gravity, the voluminous versus the depleted, past and presence, day and night, despotism and humanism, art and kitsch, the male and the female. And from reflections: the sky reflecting in the sea. East reflecting in West and vice versa.

The performance brings us all the way to China and back again. The writer Carsten Jensen is our guide. From the stage he performs his text, in silent dialogue with a Chinese dancer.

The text is framed by a colourful suite of images on a big screen, of many small people in large formations and of music written for four singers and orchestra. Chinese soprano blends with European soprano, alto and counter tenor. Classical opera attitudes from the Western and the traditional Chinese opera unfold tightly in gaudy splendour.

The masses and the individual are seen as image and movement, are heard as song and speech. The images on the screen and the movements in scenic space are the people's statements about the cheerful and the sorrowful, about the beguiling of the individual and the life of the person. Time passes, the light shifts but never sets, it only makes the globe turn around.

Commissioned and co-produced by Århus Festival Week 1998.
The performance is supported by the Culture Foundation, Copenhagen International Theatre, DCCD, the Danish State Art Foundation, and Kanonhallen.

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