Peony Pavillion Performance by Zhan Jun, UNESCO Artist for Peace

From November 29 to December 2, 2012, in a major program devoted to Chinese Garden Culture, celebrated composer Tan Dun’s updated version of the 16th-Century Kunqu opera masterpiece “Peony Pavilion” starring Zhang Jun, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Artist for Peace, will be performed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Astor Court. Co-produced by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the US China Cultural Institute (USCCI), it will be a highlight of the Metropolitan Museum’s eight-gallery exhibition “Chinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats” now on view. The exhibition is described by The New York Times as “Paradises lost and found; nature blooming and fading; cosmological events transpiring in backyard bamboo groves.” By staging the Peony Pavilion in the Astor Court, which is situated at the center of the exhibition galleries,the Museum is seeking to introduce new ways of integrating the fine arts with the performing arts as a way of further enriching the cultural experience of its audience.

This is the first time that an operatic performance has taken place in the Astor Court—the first authentic Ming-styled garden court constructed outside of China. Modeled on a courtyard in the Master of the Fishing Nets garden in Suzhou, the Astor Courtwas built at the Metropolitan Museum thirty-two years ago by a team of twenty-six Chinese craftsmen. It represents one of the first cultural exchanges between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.

On November 29, a special VIP evening will be hosted by Shirley Young, USCCI Chair, Hans d’Orville, Assistant Director General for Strategic Planning, UNESCO, and Ambassador Li Baodong, Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations. The evening will include a private viewing of the eight-gallery exhibition, Chinese Garden: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats, a conversation with Tan Dun and Maxwell K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Curator in Charge of the Department of Asian Art, a “Peony Pavilion” performance in the Astor Court, and a high-definition simulcast to Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, followed by a Gala reception with Tan Dun, Zhang Jun and other artists at The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing. Attendance will be by invitation. The public premiere of the Peony Pavilion performance in the Astor Court will take place on November 30 and will be followed by 4 additional performances on Dec 1 and 2 (sold out) plus a live high-definition simulcast of the performance to the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium on November 30. The webcast of the Friday, November 30 performance at 7:00pm will be live-streamed on the Met’s website, The event will also be archived on line for later viewing.

Shanghai Media Group is filming a documentary about The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Peony Pavilion project to help Chinese audiences understand more about The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a world leader among museums.

This program is made possible by an anonymous donor. Additional support is provided by the China-United States Exchange Foundation, US-China Cultural Institute, China International Cultural Association, and the Tang Family Foundation (Bermuda).

“This program is an example of the best of Chinese culture being presented in the most important U.S cultural venues to the American cultural audiences.” said USCCI Chair Shirley Young, who has been working on many significant cultural exchange projects between China and U.S.


Type of Event Meeting by Member States or Institutions
Start 29.11.2012 16:00 local time
End 02.12.2012 16:00 local time
Date to be fixed 0
Focal point D'Orville, Hans
Country United States of America
City New York
Permanent Delegation Contact
Major Programme
Language of Event
Estimated number of participants
Official Website
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