SCO presents Xian Xing Hai’s Yellow River masterpieces

Singapore, 22 July 2015 (Wednesday) – Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) presents Yellow River! , titled after acclaimed Chinese Composer Xian Xing Hai renowned masterpiece Yellow River Cantata. Conducted by Music Director Tsung Yeh, and featuring celebrated overseas musicians including award-winning pianist Sun Yingdi, soprano Liu Fei, baritone Tao Kuo and local actor Huang Jia Qiang, the concert will be held on 14 August (Friday), 8pm and 15 August (Saturday), 3pm, at SCO Concert Hall.

Born into a poor family in Macau, Xian Xing Hai came to Singapore with his mother at the age of six. He enrolled in Yangzheng School where he met his teacher, Ou Jianfu, who played an influential role in his eventual music career. In 1934, he was the first Chinese student admitted to the Conservatoire de Paris to study music under the tutelage of distinguished composers Vincent D’Indy and Paul Dukas. Due to strong sense of patriotism, he chose to return to China during the Japanese invasion and used music as a revolutionary tool to unite and boost the morale of his people. His influential role in Chinese music industry earned him the title of People’s Composer. Yangzheng Foundation will be sponsoring the concert on Friday to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Xian Xin Hai.

This concert will feature many of his notable pieces including Behind Enemy Lines, a song describing the courageous soldiers protecting their homeland from invaders. Baritone Tao Kuo will perform Phantom Lover and February Homecoming. Phantom Lover is the theme song for Song at Midnight – a Chinese movie adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera. Being the first horror film in the Chinese movie industry, it caused much uproar when it premiered in 1939. The tune blends and varies between the protagonist’s resentment towards the society and his obsessive love for the female lead character.

Showgirl under the Iron Heel is composed by Nie Er, who is well-known for his composition of the People’s Republic of China’s national anthem. Both Nie Er and Xian Xing Hai were recognized as revolutionary song writers during China’s tumultuous times. Soprano Liu Fei will bring on an emotional rendition of the heartfelt struggles of a dancer suffering from oppression within the society, but who, still possesses a strong sense of pride for her country during foreign invasion.

The finale to the concert will be Xian Xin Hai’s prominent choral masterpiece, Yellow River Cantata.  Guang Wei Ran wrote the poem, Yellow River, after he witnessed the boatmen battling huge waves and strong currents during one of his battle expeditions in the Anti-Japanese movement. Xian Xin Hai was inspired by the poem to compose Yellow River Cantata in just six days and is recognised as the greatest composition of the 20th century. The piece portrays the resilience and determination of Chinese nationals against Japanese invaders. The Yellow River Cantata was usually heard with a western orchestra but SCO will perform this cantata in this concert and creating the same grandiose. Soprano Liu Fei, Baritone Tao Kuo will join Shanghai Opera House Choir and Nanyang Khek Community Guild Choir to depict through Chinese poet Guang Wei Ran’s lyrics, the struggles of the Chinese citizens during war and their unwavering determination to protect their nation. Gold medalist pianist Sun Yindi, who won the 7th International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in 2005, will play the magnificent Yellow River Piano Concerto which originated from the Yellow River Cantata.

Untitled-2 copyConductor:                  Pianist:                     Soprano:                   Baritone:                     Narrator: 
Tsung Yeh                  Sun Yingdi                 Liu Fei                      Tao Kuo                     Huang Jia Qiang

Concert details:

Yellow River! – Xian Xing Hai and SCO
Date: 14 August 2015 (Friday), 8pm (Limited tickets available)
15 August 2015 (Saturday), 3pm
Venue: SCO Concert Hall
Ticket Prices: $95, $75, $55/$20*, $35/$14* (exclude SISTIC fee)
Tickets from SISTIC
*Concession prices

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