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© 2021 - Ingrid von Wantoch Rekowski - Lucilia Caesar
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Life on a String

Chamber opera by Qu Xiao-Song

Life on a String Opera

Life on a String

Chamber opera by Qu Xiao-Song

Life On A String, which premiered at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), is based on a Chinese fable: a blind old master goes from village to village singing and playing his banjo with the hope of regaining his sight when he breaks the thousandth string of his instrument. The musicians of the Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam and their conductor participate in what happens 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.


Composition: Qu Xiao-Song
Music direction: Muhai Tang
Direction: Ingrid von Wantoch Rekowski
Set design: Didier Payen
Costumes: Jorge Jara
Lighting: Daniel Lévy
Singer: Gong Dong-Jian (bass)
Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam


Production: Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels)
Coproduction:  Festival d’Automne (Paris), Marstall-Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel Munich
Supported by: La Monnaie / De Munt (Brussels)


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)

Dates / Venues


Life on a String - Chamber opera by Qu Xiao-Song

Life on a String - Chamber opera by Qu Xiao-Song