Jessie Tse

Opera Prelude: The Conflict of Love and Duty

Daughters of the Regiment

Tuesday 1 October 2019, 10:30

Venue: Caversham Room

Past Event
Opera Prelude: The Conflict of Love and Duty Past Event


Jessie Tse soprano
Shengzhi Yen tenor
Ka Man Tsang piano

A lecture-recital exploring and contrasting La fille du régiment by Donizetti and The Ballad of Mulan Psalm

After years spent building spectacular, state-of-the art opera houses, China is experiencing a boom in opera production; notably with Chinese contemporary classical opera. Hong Kong soprano  Jessie Tse introduces the fascinating world of Chinese Opera. In a journey from the traditional Xiqu to Chinese contemporary classical opera, we hear how encounters with Western music have created a new art form.

Performing excerpts from both operas and drawing comparisons between daughters of the regiment: Mulan (Mulan Psalm, 2004) and Marie (La fille du régiment, Donizetti), we consider how two girls of such different cultural and historical backgrounds deal with conflicts of love and duty. Chinese tenor Shengzhi Ren will perform some excerpts from Mulan Psalm with Ka Man Tsang, piano.

Mulan is an opera in three acts composed by Guan Xia (關峽), President of the China National Symphony Orchestra. Formerly known as Mulan Psalm(木蘭詩篇), the opera was finished and premiered in 2004 with the title role created by Ms Peng Liyuan, a famed soprano, or better
known now as the First Lady. It has toured China and the world, with most recent acclaimed performances at New York’s Lincoln Centre and the Vienna State Opera.

Although the original music for the 6th-century traditional folksong ‘The Ballad of Mulan’ has now been lost, the poem remains well known and has inspired several television shows, films and even cartoons. The opera follows the legendary story of Hua Mulan, the heroine who disguises herself as a man to replace her ailing father in the army and save her country from intruders.

Opera Prelude is delighted to showcase this cross-cultural exchange.

Duration: approx. 2 hours

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