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Symphony Accompanies Heroine Tales

The China Philharmonic Orchestra will premiere its first commissioned symphonic work - a Peking Opera symphony called "Women Generals of the Yangs."

The show will be staged today at the Poly Theatre in Beijing.

Created by famous composer Du Mingxin, "Women Generals of the Yangs" blends Western symphony music with Chinese Peking Opera.

Conducted by its artistic director Yu Long, the China Philharmonic Orchestra will co-operate with the Third Troupe of the China Peking Opera Company to perform the work. The Choir of China Opera and Dance Drama Theatre and a number of young Peking Opera actors such as Deng Min, Yuan Huiqin, Zhang Jianguo, Li Wenlin and Zhen Jianhua will take part in the performance.

In 1960, the China Peking Opera Company adapted the Yangju Opera (local opera of Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province) "Commanding the Troop at 100 Years Old" into the Peking Opera "Women Generals of the Yangs."

The story was set in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), when China was invaded by the regime of Western Xia (1038-1227). When Song's chief commander Yang Zongbao died at the front, his grandmother She Taijun, at the age of 100, led the troop with her 50-year-old daughter-in-law, Mu Guiying, to defeat the invaders.

The highly dramatic plot vividly depicts the patriotic feelings and inner worlds of the main characters.

Composed of an overture, three movements and an epilogue, the Peking Opera symphony "Women Generals of the Yangs" is an experiment by Du in creating Chinese symphonic music.

Du is an influential contemporary Chinese composer. He co-composed the music of "The Mermaids" and "The Red Detachment of Women," two successful works in the history of Chinese symphonic music. His symphony "The Story of Spring" was also well-received.

Du spent six months on "Women Generals of the Yangs." At this year's New Year Concert, the China Philharmonic Orchestra played parts of "Women Generals of the Yangs," arousing wide attention.

At the premiere, a revised version of the work will be played.

(China Daily May 20, 2002)

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