In addition to soprano Li Jing-Jing, I got to speak to SCO music director Yeh Tsung for the Savage Land production as well. The show runs for only one day on 28 February 2015. Here is what we discussed:
The Mad Scene: This production sounds so exciting to a fan of musical drama like me. Why was this opera selected to be performed at Huayi 2015?
Yeh Tsung: As modern chinese orchestra we don't want to just play instrumental pieces. Like symphony orchestras worldwide we also want to play operatic and oratorio repertoire as well as experiment with multimedia. Since I took over we have experimented with productions either with Huayi Festival or with the Singapore Arts Festival or on our own.
But this is not the first time we are doing a Western-style opera. A few years ago we did Thunderstorm (雷雨）, also based on a book by Cao Yu, but by composer Mo Fan. But this opera, Savage Land, calls for a significantly bigger production. I see it as an important step for SCO to forge, to go through a more diversified function. This is the very first opera in Chinese language in Western operatic form, with arias, recitatives, duets and Italian-style bel canto singing. It is also the very first Western-style opera from China to be performed abroad in the United States.