Singapore Chinese Orchestra world premieres Painted Skin – An Opera in Concert at the China Shanghai International Arts Festival on October 23

Singapore, 23 October 2018 – China Shanghai International Arts Festival (CSIAF) jointly commissioned Painted Skin – An Opera in Concert, which premieres at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center on 23 October 2018. Produced by Major Performing Arts Group (MPAG), SCO collaborates with a strong creative team comprising of scriptwriter Wang Yuanfei, renowned composer Hao Weiya, famous director Yi Liming and SCO music director, Tsung Yeh, which will be a production of anticipation.


The classic stories in Chinese traditional culture have always been an important source of inspiration for contemporary artists. Every new artist’s interpretation will incorporate the artist’s unique personal understanding and modern flavour into the work. When one hears of “Painted Skin”, many would immediately recall Pu Songling’s famous Strange Tales of Liao Zhai. This new production is based on this famous story, reinterpreted, and will be presented through an opera in concert, transporting audience to discover through mysterious narrative of music and drama, revealing the inner world of flamboyant, greed and hypocritical personas under the glamorous appearance of modern people.


Painted Skin – An Opera in Concert is a modern interpretation of an old story which illustrates the conflicting relationship between human, devil and righteousness. This production aims to present the struggle of humanity in the modern society. The production will be presented in four acts: “Loaning an Umbrella”, “Returning the Umbrella”, “Fiddling with the Umbrella” and “Tearing the Umbrella”, which cleverly uses the umbrella to enact the dramatic ups and downs in the two-hour-long production.


The storyboard of Painted Skin goes: One day, a devoted scholar husband, who was heading home, passed an umbrella to a beautiful woman who is crying in the rain. He is not aware that she is a ghost wearing a painted skin, in search for a gentle and loving man on earth. This resulted in the relationship entanglement between the man and the ghost, which resulted in a tragedy. The key main cast of Painted Skin includes Scholar Wang (impersonated by mezzo-soprano Dong Fang), Mrs Wang (enacted by soprano Xu Lei) and Ghost Gui Yan (impersonated by Peking Opera ActorLiu Zheng). These three main actors will interpret the emotional entanglement between man and ghost using lyrical expressions, various vocal singing techniques and contemporary stage performance.


After the premiere in Shanghai on 23 October, Painted Skin – An Opera in Concert will have its Singapore premiere at the Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts 2019, presented by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.

Concert details:

China Shanghai International Arts Festival jointly commissioned:Painted Skin – An Opera in Concert

Date: 23 October 2018 (Tuesday) 
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Concert Hall

Official ticketing website:  


The creative team and main cast of Painted Skin will be in Singapore from 14 – 20 October 2018.

Please refer to annex for the cast list and programme.


For more information, photographs, and interviews, please contact:


Koh Mui Leng

Assistant Director (Marketing Communications)

Singapore Chinese Orchestra


Tel: 6557 4047 / 9833 0556


See Ling Ling

Head, Communications

The Esplanade Co Ltd


Tel: 6828 8334


Jackie Wong

Arts Marketing Strategist

The Esplanade Co Ltd


Tel: 6828 8343