Above the White Island
Trapped in his room in London, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, our narrator – a Chinese student far from home – finds himself doubly estranged: distant from the familiar comforts of home and forced to grapple with the suspended reality of a locked down city on his own. Pacing the narrow space of his room, he retreats into his memories, and finds himself reminiscing on the classical Chinese poetry he was taught as a child. One poem in particular, by the Tang Dynasty poet and politician Du Fu, captures his imagination, and as he begins to translate it, he realises that the centuries-old poem of exile seems to closely foreshadow his current situation.
Find out more about how Above the White Island came about and its collaborative process here.
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Instrumentation: Tenor and Piano
Text by: Theophilus Kwek
Commissioned by: National Opera Studio
Recorded by: Shengzhi Ren, Derek Clark, NOS, Scottish Opera, Opera Vision
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