In an Australian first, Hubei Symphony Orchestra, Hubei Provincial Opera and Dance Drama Theatre present a modern concert production of the classic Chinese opera, Lake Honghu at the Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Recital Centre this November.
Composed by Zhu Benhe, Zhang Jing’an and Ouyang Qianshu, the original opera was first performed in 1958 in Wuhan and was staged in Beijing in October 1959. Based on the true story, Han Ying and Liu Chuang led a team of guardians defending their homeland in the scenic Lake Honghu area in the summer of 1930.
Full of passion, showing the revolutionary pioneer’s love of the hometown and hope for the 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 songs, celebrated Australian conductor Vanessa Scammell (My Fair Lady, The Merry Widow, South Pacific) leads the Sydney performance, while resident conductor Luo Yilin leads the Melbourne performances – alongside the Hubei Symphony Orchestra, seven lead vocalists including Soprano Ma Yaqin as Han Ying and Tenor Qin Desong as Liu Chuang and a chorus of forty.
Founded in 1952, Hubei Provincial Opera and Dance Drama Theatre is a state-owned performing arts group who have has created many theatrical pieces and has widespread influence both at home and abroad, winning a number of national dance and music awards. Major works include Red Guards on Lake Honghu, King Zhuang of Chu, The Imperial Bells of China, Lotus Poem, Wang Zhaojun and Love of The Boat Tracker.
The Hubei Symphony Orchestra is a member of Hubei Provincial Opera and Dance Drama Theatre. Since its foundation in 2010, HSO has toured China nationally, performed major works including Red Guards on Lake Honghu, Cherry Blossom, King Zhuang of Chu, Osmanthus Flowers Blooming Everywhere in August and Stone of the Three Gorges Dam.
Concert Hall – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
Performance: Sunday 4 November 2018 – 8.00pm
Information and Bookings: www.sydneyoperahouse.com
Elisabeth Murdoch Hall – Melbourne Recital Centre, Southbank Boulevard, Southbank
Performances: Wednesday 7 & Thursday 8 November 2018 – 7.30pm
Information and Bookings: www.melbournerecital.com.au
Image: Lake Honghu In Concert (supplied)