A landmark achievement in Chinese opera, The Peony Pavilion was created in the sixteenth century, and characteristically combined singing, dancing, gesture, and recitation. A complete twenty-hour version was planned by Chinese-born director Chen Shi-Zheng for the 1998 Lincoln Center Festival, but the Chinese government prevented the artists from leaving the country, scuttling the project and creating a major international incident. A new plan was hatched the following year for bringing The Peony Pavilion to fruition, and it involved sequestering the artists in an undisclosed U.S. location in order to assemble the production beyond the reach of the Chinese government. For three months in the spring of 1999, Chen Shi-Zheng and dozens of artists and technicians occupied the Doris Duke Theatre and put together the first full-length staging of The Peony Pavilion in three hundred years. While its official premiere took place at Lincoln Center the following month, a special showing was first given here for an invited audience.