The Tang Dynasty meal and show

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The Tang Dynasty meal and show

The Tang Dynasty Show in XianAfter the Peking Opera in Beijing we were all a little worried about the evening we had booked in Xian for the Tang Dynasty show. We shouldn’t have been – we had a great evening.

Like the opera, the Tang Dynasty show takes place in a theatre built into a hotel. Tables are set for dinner in sections leading downward to the stage.

We were shown to our seats as a group of musicians played various musical instruments, taking turns to take the lead – playing or singing a solo with the rest playing in the background. Like the Peking Opera, the music was distinctly recognisable as Chinese but unlike the opera was tuneful and easy on the ear.

Our waitresses were very friendly and paid the children a lot of attention, particularly Tom who they fussed around like mother hens, bringing him paper and pens and showing him how to write his name in Chinese script.

The meal, as all our food in China has been, was excellent and we had Chinese rice wine and jasmine tea to drink. The rice wine was very sweet – not really wine at all but more of a syrup and is apparently not very alcoholic.

Just as we finished our food, the lights dimmed and the show began.

The show consisted of 4 sections, each showing an aspect of Tang culture or history.

• The prelude, which we had been listening to during dinner.
• Cultural Dancing; ‘White Ramie’, ‘Da Nuo’, ‘Rainbow’ and ‘Warrior Triumphal’
• Instrumental; ‘Happy spring outing’ and ‘Spring Orioles Song’
• The finale – Ta Ge

The dancing was good and included displays of martial arts (with poles) which was energetic as well as impressive. The happy spring outing included an impressive display of mouth pipe playing although the player’s finale where he impersonated bird song was perhaps a little too trill! The whole display lasted about an hour and 10 mins which was just about enough although Callum didn’t quite make it. He rested his head on the table and was asleep within the first 15 mins.