170 Days in Nanking

Date:2019-04-22      Source:National Centre for the Performing Arts

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Venue: Opera House
Dates: April 24, 2019


The opera commission 170 Days in Nanking has been created since December 2016. Guided by the Publicity Department of the CPC Jiangsu Provincial Committee, co-produced by Jiangsu Cultural Investment and Jiangsu Performing Arts Group and presented by Jiangsu Centre for the Performing Arts, 170 Days in Nanking gives a concrete manifestation of “Chinese Story and International Expression” in this opera commission. The production team comprises of artists from 16 countries and regions. The composer TANG Jianping commented: “I wish that the audience can be touched by the brilliance of the humanity from this opera instead of the horror of killing”.

80 years have elapsed. Until now, there are only 99 survivors of the Nanking Massacre. This painful history must be remembered, since it is not only the pain of the Chinese people, but also the trauma of the whole humankind. The review and commemoration of the history aim to help the whole world stay away from the gloom of warfare, and let future generations enjoy peace and tranquility. This is a war requiem in pursuit of peace and hope. The whole opera expresses the indignation for massacres, the praise for life and the chanting for life.


The opera is brought back to 1937, when the Japanese invaders began to bombard Nanking indiscriminately since September. Helpless civilians are killed by war, and beautiful Nanking City is degraded into a living hell. At this moment of life and death, John Rabe (Representative of Siemens China Co., in Nanking), Minnie Vautrin (Principal of Ginling Women’s College), John Magee (US missionary) and other 20 Western friends choose to stay in Nanking, and establish the International Committee for Nanking Safety Zone. They delineate a safety zone of​ less than four square kilometers in the war-stricken city to provide the humanitarian relief to local civilians. Because of his special identity as a German, Rabe assumes the position as Chairman of the International Committee for Nanking Safety Zone. In the most difficult days since then, Rabe and others negotiate with the Japanese embassy and the military, to protect the life safety of 200,000 refugees in the Nanking Safety Zone.


TANG Jianping


XU Zhong

Stage Director