China // Theatre  

Feng Yi Ting

June 20 – 22, 2013

Buy Tickets
From $25
You will be directed to a third-party site to purchase tickets.
MacMillan Theatre

Sung in Mandarin Chinese with English and Mandarin surtitles.


As interpreted by Guo Wenjing, one of China’s most respected contemporary composers, and celebrated Canadian film and theatre director Atom Egoyan, Feng Yi Ting explores the epic tale of Diao Chan, one of the fabled Four Beauties of ancient China, whose seductive charms ignite an empire-threatening rivalry between a ruthless warlord and the brave general Lu Bu.

A brilliant morself of theatrical art, flamboyantly conceived and compellingly staged.

— The New York Times
This gem-like opera, featuring set designs by Derek McLane and costumes by Han Feng, focuses on the pivotal moment when Diao and her lover meet in the Feng Yi Ting, or “Phoenix Pavilion,” where she urges him to eliminate his nemesis. Guo’s magical score blends Chinese and Western traditions, at once arrestingly modern and majestically ancient.


Co-produced by Lincoln Center Festival, Spoleto Festival USA and Currents—Arts & Music.


“A fine case of theatrical alchemy”
– Toronto Star
“A seamless theatrical tapestry ... one of those shows that one could go see several times over”
– Musical Toronto
“A striking blend of East and West”
– The Globe and Mail


Creative Team

Atom Egoyan is one of the most celebrated contemporary filmmakers on the international scene. His body of work – which includes theatre, music, and art installations - delves into issues of memory, displacement, and the impact of technology and media on modern life.

In addition to making feature films, Egoyan has also directed the Canadian Opera Company's Toronto production of Salome (1996) and wrote the libretto for Elsewhereless (1998), a chamber opera on which he collaborated with Canadian composer Rodney Sharman. Egoyan has also served on several international film juries at the world's most prestigious film festivals, such as those in Cannes, Berlin and Toronto.

Atom Egoyan 

Atom Egoyan

Guo Wenjing

Ken Lam

Dig Deeper

Background & Synopsis

Diao Chan is one of the four legendary beauties of ancient China—whose face, it was said, would cause the moon to shy away in shame when compared to her luminous beauty. She was supposedly born near the end of the Han Dynasty (between 161 and 176 C.E., depending on the source), but unlike the other three beauties, there is no real evidence she ever lived and is likely to be a fictional character.

Feng Yi Ting is based on a historic novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, one of China’s four great classical novels. Commonly regarded by scholars to be the greatest and most influential works of pre-modern Chinese literature, they are well known to most Chinese readers and have served as the genesis for many later traditional works. Composer Guo Wenjing places the action of his opera at the final meeting of his two characters, Diao Chan and Lu Bu, in a pavilion known as the Feng Yi Ting (“The Phoenix Pavilion”). Dong Zhou was the most powerful warlord in the country. He and General Lu Bu, his godson, controlled the young emperor and the entire country. No one, neither aristocrat nor member of the court, had the power to challenge the two men. Interior Minister Wang Yun decided to use a beautiful woman, Diao Chan—his own goddaughter—as a ploy to destroy the powerful bond between the two men. Wang Yun invited Lu Bu to his home to present him with a golden crown. Wang Yun asked Diao Chan to entertain the guests by singing and dancing, and Lu Bu quickly became enamored by her beauty. He was soon betrothed to her, and a wedding date was chosen. Soon after, Wang Yun invited Dong Zhou to his home for a banquet and again asked Diao Chan to perform. When he was sure that Dong Zhou was attracted to his goddaughter, Wang Yun offered her to him as a gift. Later on, Diao Chan meets with Lu Bu at the Feng Yi Ting pavilion in the Dong garden. There she persuades him to murder Dong Zhou.