The Chinese entertainment industry is fast becoming a powerful force on the world stage, and this weekend’s world premiere of the new show “Memory 5D+: An Immersive Musical Odyssey to a Distant Past” should bring that fact home in spectacular fashion at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Combining 17 of China’s finest and most diverse musicians performing on rare traditional instruments rarely heard outside of the nation’s borders, with a cast of 26 actors and the latest in cutting-edge special effects, the $4 million production is the latest spectacle from top producer Ulan Xuerong.
The show’s title refers to the expansive collective “memory” of Chinese performing arts of the past, and the contributions they have made to Chinese culture, and the fact that the show’s effects are designed to appeal to audience members’ five senses and beyond. Current plans are for this weekend’s performances to lead to an international tour.
These artists performing classic works of Chinese music have been set against a backdrop of new imagery created by world-renowned creative designer Tom E. Marzullo, who has created, designed and directed international tours for superstars including Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Prince, KISS and Luther Vandross. Marzullo and his team are designing a multi-dimensional immersive journey for “Memory 5D+” utilizing state of the art concert production techniques that include high definition digital video and lighting, 7.1 surround sound, lasers and aromatic sensory technology.
The instruments employed include guqin (Chinese zither), “cowboy” flute, gijak, guzheng, konghou (Chinese harp), morin khuur (Mongolian horsehead fiddle), pipa (Chinese lute), Tuva drum (Shamanic drum) and two chordophones — topshur and yekele.
“Memory 5D+” also uses many Chinese performance arts including Chinese acrobatics, Dolan Muqam, Khoomei (Tuvan throat singing), Shadow Play, Suzhou Pingtan (storytelling and ballad singing from the Suzhou dialect), Tibetan folk songs and Urtin Duu (Mongolian Long Tune).
The scenario for “Memory 5D+” was written by British visual effects master John Hughes, known for his visual effects seen in films including “Frozen,” “Big Hero 6,” “Moana,” “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Spider-Man 3.” He used the Chinese philosophy of Taoism as inspiration for a story set against the background of the creation of the universe, and of how the forces of darkness and light — yin and yang — learned to become one.
“Memory 5D+” is performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. Tickets are $38 to $128. Visit Memory5d.com or call (800) 982-2787.