The news story of a Chinese acrobatic troupe stranded at DFW Airport tugged at our collective ravelled memories. Now these very young performers were adding to the exoticism of the fairy tale Chinese court of the ice-hearted princess Turandot. Fort Worth Opera's 2008 Festival-goers loved this happy addition to the already fabulous production.
The youthful gymnasts, flew into Dallas after performing at a casino in New York at the start of what was to be a nine-month tour of the U.S. Members of the Guanhua Acrobatic team from Shanghai spoke next to no English. The man who had arranged their trip was not there to meet them. They had no money, no job, food, shelter, and no plane tickets that day last February. After spending time in homeless shelters, they found a temporary home with a circus acquaintance living in Kauffman County.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram story of May 27th explains how the acrobats became "featured supernumeraries" in Puccini's opera directed by Kurt Howard. I only wish "Pagliacci" had also been planned for the Festival to give the acrobats more work!
© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder