Paradise Interrupted

The captivating new installation opera by acclaimed composer Huang Ruo will receive its New York premiere at Lincoln Center Festival before moving on to its Asian premiere in Singapore.




New York Times
“A Powerful Opera of Eastern and Western Allure… The engrossing chamber opera Paradise Interrupted could easily have ended up a clichéd, cross-cultural mess. Opera has long been an art form that draws together music, poetry, theater, dance and other genres. But few works mingle different elements so ambitiously as Paradise Interrupted. That this 80-minute opera proved so alluring and powerful is due largely to the inventive and personal music of its composer, Huang Ruo.”

Wall Street Journal
“A mesmerizing new work that is part opera, part dynamic art installation.”

Architectural Digest
“A cutting-edge opera for the next generation.”

This sensuous, fantastical score interweaves traditional Chinese and contemporary Western styles within a haunting installation by visual artist Jennifer Wen Ma, known for her Emmy Award–winning work on the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Following the successful world premiere at the Spoleto Festival 2015 and currently on display at Qatar Museums Gallery Al Riwaq, Paradise Interrupted receives its New York premiere at Lincoln Center Festival on July 13, 2016. After that, the installation operamoves on to the Singapore International Festival of Arts for the Asian premiere on August 31, 2016.

Huang Ruo poetically reimagines and blends the myths of the Garden of Eden and Peony Pavilion with a composition that fuses the melismatic vocal style of kunqu with Western tonality.

Paradise Interrupted opens with a woman alone onstage, dreaming of an erotic encounter with her ideal lover – a dream that triggers a psychological journey through a strange and surreal garden made from dynamic paper sculptures.

Inspired by origami and calligraphy, interactive media enables this vast garden and a host of digital characters to interact with the woman and respond to her voice creating the stark effect of ephemeral beauty. Visual artist Jennifer Wen Ma directs and designs this exquisite opera. The quest-seeking soprano is Qian Yi, who has been lauded by The New York Times as “China’s reigning opera princess.” Huang Ruo has written a composition that is at once a continuation of tradition and entirely new.

Excerpts from Paradise Interrupted were first presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in March, 2015. The world premiere performance took place at Spoleto Festival USA on May 22, 2015.

Paradise Interrupted is co-commissioned and co-produced by Spoleto Festival USA, Lincoln Center Festival, and National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts.




July 13–16
Lincoln Center Festival
New York, NY

August 31 – September 3
Singapore International Festival of Arts

Fall 2017
National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts
Kaohsiung (Taiwan)

14 March 2016 – 16 July 2016
The Furthest Distance in a Paradise Interrupted
Music by Huang Ruo | Jennifer Wen Ma, installation artist
QM Gallery ALRIWAQ at Quatar Museums
Doha, Quatar