Life on a String

Life on a String

Chamber opera by Qu Xiao-Song
With 1 singer and the Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam, musical direction by Muhai Tang

Life On A String is a chamber opera by Qui Xiao-Song, based on a Chinese fable which premiered at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts. Here the aim is to present the drama of the music itself without illustrating it. To avoid returning to standard conventions, the musicians of the Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam and their conductor are integrated into the acting on stage. The presence of the orchestra is ritualised: their gestures becoming simple, often slow, sometimes enigmatic. Sobriety and rigour are the rule, but without the intention of expressing or emphasising too obvious a meaning.


Music direction: Muhai Tang
Direction: Ingrid von Wantoch Rekowski
With: Gong Dong-Jian (bass) and the Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam
Set design: Didier Payen
Costumes: Jorge Jara
Lighting: Daniel Lévy
Production: Kunstenfestivaldesarts in co-production with the Festival d’Automne and Marstall-Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel Munich; supported by La Monnaie


L’art d’Ingrid von Wantoch Rekowski témoigne une nouvelle fois de son habileté à cerner scéniquement, dans la sobriété et la rigueur ce qu’une matière sonore peut induire sans vouloir en élucider ou en appuyer un sens trop fermé.

Le SoirMichele Friche, 13/05/98

Gedurende iets meer dan een uur lijkt de tijd stil te staan en voelt de toeschouwer zich opgenomen naar een andere wereld. En dat is iets waar niet elke traditionele opera in slaagt.

Haagsche Courant, 14/04/1999

It is all stunningly, captivatingly realised and superbly played.

The Herald, Keith Bruce, 30/08/99

A perfectly fascinating festival experience

The Times, Rodney Milnes, 01/09/99

Oper und Fabel verschmelzen hier zu einer wundersamen Einheit aus fernöstlicher und europäischer Musiktradition

AZ München, Rüdiger Schwarz, 12/12/98

1999 - Doelenzaal Amsterdam - NL
1999 - Vredenburg Utrecht - NL
1999 - Culturgest Lisbon - PT
1999 - Edinburgh International Festival - UK
1998 - Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels - BE
1998 - Festival d’Automne - FR
1998 - Bouffes du Nord Paris - FR
1998 - Opéra de Normandie Rouen - FR
1998 - Marstall Bayerisches Staatstheater München - DE
1998 - Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels - BE
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