Bringing the treasures of the Orient home

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Skip jetting off to a warmer escape for February’s reading break and soak up another culture right here in Montreal instead.

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Spectacular China is Place Des Arts’ latest exhibit, promising to transport viewers to the exotic Middle Kingdom with six shows celebrating modern-day China and its Eastern traditions.

Carnival 2014 — Chinese Springtime Gala will kick off the party on Feb. 15 with acrobats, dancers, singers and traditional musicians matched up with Quebec’s own cellist Vincent Bélanger, starting at 8 p.m. To celebrate the diversity of Chinese culture, the show features artists from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, weaving together varying traditions and customs to the beat of Far Eastern and Occidental rhythms.

The China National Theatre for Children will be presenting The Three Little Pigs and Abracadabra! on Feb. 16. The shows, presented in over 10 countries, is designed for children (and families) of different backgrounds and languages. Heads up: the big bad wolf might be a bit frightening, but the show is packed full of laughs and good times to make up for it.

A more serious show will be Fault Lines, a contemporary dance piece that pays tribute to the 69,000 victims of the devastating 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province. Choreographer Sara Brodie, who survived the 2010 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, was drawn to the Leshan Song and Dance Troupe, which features several dancers whose families were in the epicentre of the most devastated region in Sichuan. The show runs from Feb. 20 to March 1.

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The Orchestre Symphonique De Montréal is presenting Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme on Feb. 26-27, featuring conductor Long Yu, Jian Wang on the cello, and Quian Jun and Jin Kai on traditional Chinese flutes. This show promises to blend classical, contemporary and Chinese music.

Highlighting Spectacular China is the Shanghai Jingju Company’s version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan. The play combines theatre, acrobatic dance, martial arts, traditional songs and music with elaborate costumes and makeup. The award-winning company created a show for Western audiences and will feature English and French subtitles, but scanning a synopsis of Hamlet to be familiar with the plot before the show is recommended. There will also be a brief introduction before each performance to educate audiences about the Peking opera, a rare form of theatre that the Shanghai Jingju Company is highly acclaimed for. Shows are on Feb. 28 and Mar. 1.

Tickets for the events range from $16 to $199. Are you a student on a tight budget? Improve your cultural horizons by checking out the free Focus on China contemporary art exhibition, featuring 15 works from young Chinese artists at Place Des Arts until March 1.  For more details visit


Photos by Leah Robertson (Press)

Peking Opera Group

Revenge of Prince Zi Dan:




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