By Travis Johnson

This one kind of spills the banks of cinema, per se, but some things are so cool that they just need to be talked about. Like The Legend of Sword, a multimedia, special effects-backed live Chinese opera based on Asia’s most popular computer game.

Based on the Chinese computer RPG, The Legend of Sword and Fairy, The Legend of Sword stage show has been a huge hit in its native land, selling over 100,000 tickets since its 2015 debut in Shanghai. This is just the latest cross-media iteration of the franchise, which was spawned two TV series and a dozen games since it kicked off back in 1995.

Now, for the first time, Western audiences will get a taste when the opera is performed outside of China for the first time. The stage production combines animation, live action and augmented reality technology to produce a 3D experience without the need for special glasses.

Producer Ice Liang explained, “To achieve the augmented reality effects, there are a number of layers of screens on the stage that animate various elements – from the environment to 3D characters. Those layers, together with special lighting effects, are how we produce augmented reality animations on stage. The Legend of Sword was the first major stage production in China to use those technologies successfully.”

The stage show also incorporates nearly 30 original music pieces, using traditional Chinese folk music elements and instruments such as the Erhu, pipa and vertical bamboo flute, as well as modern musical arrangements.

“All the music and songs in the show are original pieces written specifically for The Legend of Sword. We like to think of it as a hi-tech Chinese Broadway show, kind of like ‘Broadway meets technology’. There’s a lot of music and action,” Liang said.

The Legend of Sword is playing for only two shows only at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre on Saturday, December 3. for tickets and info, head to Ticketmaster.


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