The work pays homage to the inspiring co-creator of Cantane of the Yellow River, Chen Nan reports.
In 1939, composer Xian Xinghai (1905-45) premiered the legendary Yellow River Cantata, together with poet Guang Weiran. The work fueled patriotism during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).
Created the same year in Yan’an, Shaanxi province, a revolutionary communist base, the work has been performed for decades by musicians and remains a favorite with the public.
“Whenever the music of Yellow River Cantata is played, we feel strong emotions and we are inspired,” says Xiao Xiangrong, a renowned dancer-choreographer.
In 2019, after visiting the Xian Xinghai Museum in Macau, where the composer was born, Xiao was inspired by the life story of Xian and wanted to create a dance drama paying homage to the composer.
Working with veteran choreographer and screenwriter Xu Rui, vice president of Beijing Dance Academy, Xiao realized his ideas with a new dance drama, titled Xian xinghai, which will be premiered at the National Performing Arts Center in Beijing.
Co-produced by Ningbo Performance and Arts Group, the dance drama will premiere at NCPA from Thursday to December 22.
“When I visited the Xian Xinghai Museum in Macau, I was impressed with his life story. He is a legendary composer who created a lot of music in his short life. He was also a man, a husband and a father, who went through hardships during wartime, ”Xiao says.
Born in Macau, Xian traveled to Singapore with his mother, a widowed housekeeper. His teachers understood his talent and introduced him to the world of music. In 1918, Xian went to Guangzhou to study the violin at Sun Yat-sen University, then continued his studies in Beijing and Shanghai before entering the prestigious Paris Conservatory in 1930.
“As a student, Xian was poor and he did various jobs to make ends meet,” Xiao explains, adding that he learned about Xian’s youth at the Macau Museum.