NCPA Opera Commission The Song of Youth goes on stage in April

NCPA April/11/2023
From April 27th to May 1st, the NCPA opera commission The Song of Youth will appear on stage, to kick off the NCPA Opera Festival 2023. Adapted from YANG Mo’s novel of the same title, it was produced by ZHANG Qianyi as the composer, ZHAO Daming as the librettist and WANG Xiaoying as the director. The debut round will be conducted by LÜ Jia, Artistic Director of the NCPA. Singers SONG Yuanming, ZHAO Lili, HAN Peng, LIANG Yufeng, ZHOU Zhengzhong, LIU Tao, CAI Jingwen, HU Yue and GUAN Zhijing will join hands with the NCPA Resident Opera Singers, China NCPA Chorus and Orchestra to render a melody of youth about the age of awakening.


A press conference was held for The Song of Youth in the NCPA Press Room

On the morning of April 11th, a press conference was held for the commission in the NCPA Press Room. ZHAO Tiechun, Vice President of the NCPA, appeared with the creative team and opera cast, sharing the motive of creation and highlights of the opera. They also presented some wonderful arias, such as Love Makes the World Smaller, The Way Out, and I Know You Have Your Own Belief.

The Song of Youth is the first full-length novel in the history of contemporary Chinese literature to depict how revolutionary intellectuals struggled under the leadership of the CPC. Centering on LIN Daojing’s growth and choices, the work shows how young intellectuals gradually abandon their individual pursuit for the collective interest. We can see the powerful strength unleashed from this generation of intellectuals when the Chinese nation was confronted with a grave crisis between life and death.


ZHAO Tiechun, Vice President of the NCPA, introduced the opera

ZHAO Tiechun, Vice President of the NCPA, introduced the opera at the conference. From literature to motion pictures, it depicts a tortuous journey taken by intellectuals to a proletarian revolution. It’s also how many young people awakened in the century-long history of the CPC. It is worth mentioning that The Song of Youth is the 100th production launched by the NCPA.

The composer ZHANG Qianyi, who is in charge of adaptation, once worked with the librettist ZHAO Daming in composing music and writing a libretto for the Chinese opera commission LAN Huahua. ZHAO Daming, who also has close ties with Peking University, pointed out the most soul-stirring part of the work. It was a critical historical moment when the country and nation were left hanging in the balance. Every conscientious, warm-blooded young person took action to save the nation. A contemporary perspective is added to build true-to-life stage images with distinct artistic individuality.

To present this literary work on the opera stage more vividly, the composer ZHANG Qianyi used music to create a lifelike group image of intellectuals. Themed youth, the opera is full of dramatic conflicts, which find expression in both the libretto and conflictive musical modality. The dramatic music not only reveals a group of young people’s passion for revolution, but provides a new exploration on how to create Chinese lyric operas. The coloratura mezzo-soprano is added to the opera, providing a richer and broader space for the singers to display their skills.

The dramatist WANG Xiaoying, who is director of the NCPA dramas Jane Eyre, The Dawns Here Are Quiet and The Count of Monte Cristo, will once again join forces with his partners, set designer LIU Kedong, lighting designer XING Xin and video projection designer HU Tianji, to form a powerful creative team. The stage presentation boasts the romantic style of music, with the characters’ ideological collision, emotional disputes and life choice presented in a modern, improvisational, open and free stage space.

Outstanding young Chinese singers have joined to highlight the theme of youth. SONG Yuanming and ZHAO Lili, who play LIN Daojing in the opera, have both portrayed many classical opera characters on the NCPA stage. Other singers, including HAN Peng, LIANG Yufeng, ZHOU Zhengzhong, LIU Tao, CAI Jingwen, HU Yue and GUAN Zhijing, have all proven their strength both at home and abroad.

Photos by LING Feng
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