Special concert to pay rich tributes to Red Army
As this year marks the 80th anniversary of the end of the Long March, a special concert will be staged to pay homage to the Red Army.
With headliners, including Chinese tenor Yan Weiwen, soprano Song Zuying and baritone Liao Changyong, the concert, produced by the National Center for the Performing Arts, will see a joint performance by the NCPA Orchestra and the NCPA Chorus under the baton of leading Chinese conductor Li Xincao, who is the resident conductor of the China National Symphony Orchestra.
In the early 1930s, the Kuomintang, the then-ruling party of China, launched a series of attacks against the Communist Party’s Red Army in central and eastern China.
After losing in the fifth round of attacks in October 1934 to save its troops, the Red Army began a two-year “strategic retreat”, now known as the LongMarch.
According to Yin Qing, the renowned Chinese composer and artistic director of the concert, the first half of the concert will see works inspired by the poems of Chairman Mao Zedong, which he wrote during the LongMarch.
For example, Loushan Pass, a famous poem written in 1935 by Mao, is about Loushan Pass, a place in Guizhou province, where a fierce battle took place.
The Long March, a poem which Mao wrote in 1935 when the historical march was almost ending, talks of some of the areas the Red Army traveled.
“These music pieces adapted from Chairman Mao’s poems depict the hardships of the epic march and the heroic spirit of Red Army,” says Yin, adding that the audiences will be taken back to the historic events during the Long March, including the battle at Xiangjiang River, which saw around 50,000 Red Army soldiers die, and the battle at Luding Bridge, which sawa small RedArmy force brave gunfire to cross the bridge and attack enemy positions on the other side — successfully securing a bridgehead for the army to cross.
Two music pieces selected from the original opera produced by the NCPA, titled The LongMarch, will also be performed at the concert.
Written by famed scriptwriter Zou Jingzhi and composed by Yin, the opera, which was directed by Tian Qinxin, one of China’s most accomplished and pioneering drama directors, premiered in Beijing on July 1 this year.
In its first five-day run then, the opera attracted over 150,000 people.
Meanwhile, the second half of the concert will comprise 10 classic works from Suite of Songs for the Long March, which were written by Xiao Hua (1916-85) in 1965 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the end of the LongMarch.
Speaking about the works which will be featured in the second half of the show, veteran tenor Yan Weiwen says: “We grew up by listening to these poems and songs. I can still recall vividly when I first heard the tenor Jia Shijun (1930-2011) perform the Suite of Songs for the Long March. He was my idol.”
NCPA vice-president Zhu Jing says the series of events commemorating the 80th anniversary of the end of the LongMarch are the result of four years of planning.
Besides the original opera and the concert, the NCPA will also present performances jointly with the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts and an exhibition on the LongMarch.
Tenor Yan Weiwen will perform at the upcoming concert commemorating the Long March.