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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.

You may also be interested in Untold

Year: 2020

Instrumentation: Tenor and Piano

Duration: 9'

Text by: Theophilus Kwek

Commissioned by: National Opera Studio

Recorded by: Shengzhi Ren, Derek Clark, NOS, Scottish Opera, Opera Vision

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