I read somewhere that it’s the music that emotes the feeling to any performance or movie. You may not have noticed the music but it’s the cause for that tightening of your chest, or that lump in your throat when you watched a touching scene.
I watched Butterfly Lovers in the late 1990s, starring Nicky Wu and fell in love with the sound track. I first heard SCO played Butterfly Lovers in 2010 and the memory was so vivid I wanted a repeat experience. (https://vickychong.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/tunes-of-the-butterfly-lovers-by-sco/)
The violinist this time was Lu Si Qing. The concert was a full house and it was a sold out for all three shows. To hear the score without a scene requires the imagination of the audience. It’s helpful if you know the story, for then you can appreciate the highs and lows of the musical journey. The violinist was immersed in his performance, and his hair became tousled from the vigorous movements of his head as he manoeuvred his instrument, his facial expression changing from frown to grimace in full concentration.
The original violinist was an 18-year old teenager when she first played the piece, and Lu Si Qing had said in an interview that his interpretation of the piece changes with every stage of his life – bachelor, husband, father. Yet, I find the piece is better interpreted by a woman. This is after all a tragic romance and men somehow lack the touch connecting with romantic arts, whether it’s music, book or movie.
The next special performance is the second version world premier of Centennial Memorial of Xinhai. The four-movement piece describes Dr Sun Tet Sen’s revolution with an er-hu solo.
The first movement started with the distant sound of a trumpet call. I looked in vain for the trumpeter on stage, wondering how the player made the sound so faint, only to see him appearing a few minutes later from behind the stage door. How clever!
The pairing of er-hu and the trumpet was instrumental (pardon the pun) in conveying the military movement and the sorrowful era. The sound of the er-hu is both lonely and sad, depicting a sense of helplessness. Special credits must go to er-hu soloist Song Fei and guest trumpeter Kenneth Lun. I thought their performance overshadowed that of the Butterfly Lovers.
The were two fillers – an unfamiliar opening Yue opera: Dream of the Read Chamber Suite and a noisy Fujian theatrical performance of Nine Actors.
Once again, an enjoyable evening by SCO that didn’t disappoint.