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Sun 04 Nov 2018
After 60 years of success in China, performing more than 3000 shows and now performing for the first time out of China in an Australian first, Hubei Symphony Orchestra of Hubei Provincial Opera and Dance Drama Theatre presents a modern concert production of the classic Chinese opera, Lake Honghu featuring seven principal singers and a chorus of forty.

These milestone concerts will take place at the Sydney Opera House on November 4 with celebrated Australian guest conductor Vanessa Scammell (My Fair Lady, The Merry Widow, South Pacific) and Melbourne Recital Centre led by resident conductor Luo Yilin on November 7 & 8.

The original opera was first performed in 1958 in Wuhan and was staged in Beijing in October 1959. Based on the true story of the conflict in the scenic Lake Honghu in the summer of 1930 when the Chinese civil war. Led by Han Ying and Liu Chuang, they defend their homeland. Interesting to note by means of its famous lake, Honghu City produces forty kinds of fish and an abundance of plants, such as the lotus, reed and a type of lack algae.

As with Chinese Opera the work is a national folk song with a lyrical ballad, the female heroine Han Ying who sings soprano and the male hero Liu Chuang a tenor. Melody is cheerful and full of passion, shows the revolutionary pioneer’s love of the hometown and hope for the happy lives and future. The music structure contains both strength of the Chinese traditional opera and English Opera. The lyrics and the music tell the story and focus on emphasising the character’s internal emotions.

Blending western style opera with traditional Chinese and Hubei folk music, the music was embraced and the theme song ‘the Waves on Lake Honghu’ became and is to this day a very well-known and recognizable part of music that has marked history of the Chinese national opera in the 20th Century. The opera, composed by Zhu Benhe, Zhang Jing’an and Ouyang Qianshu, has since become a national treasure. In 1961, it was adapted into a popular film, and famous passages such as Waves on Lake Honghu; No Tears, No Sorrow; and Wait and See the Liberation of All Suffering People, have become a part of China’s collective memory.

This unique production aims to celebrate and revive the classic work, with guest music directors working to preserve the brilliance of the original music, while also making modifications to the arrangements to reinvent the piece for contemporary audiences.
Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Sydney Opera House on
  9250 7777

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