A Woman Such as Myself

27.6.2018, 20:00, Hlubina Coal Mine

Chamber one-act opera, 2017–2018

Music: Daniel Lo
Libretto: Suyin Mak, based on a short story by Xi Xi (real name Zhang Yan, *1938)

Conductor: Petr Kotík
Director, stage design: Miřenka Čechová, Petr Boháč

Kamala Sankaram, soprano (Woman)
Vojtěch Šembera, baritone (Man)
Kamila Mazalová, alto (Aunt)
Ostravská banda

World premiere, 60 min

In English language with Czech subtitles

A Woman Such as Myself is a chamber opera based on the short story A Girl Like Me written by Xixi, one of the best-known contemporary Chinese writers in the 21st century. The story touches on such soul-searching themes as the vulnerability of love; courage and cowardice; the meaning of work; destiny and choice. These are themes that transcend both time and culture.  The protagonist in the story A Girl Like Me is a make-up lady working in a funeral parlour. The story unfolds in a kind of extended monologue. It opens with the protagonist sitting in a café, waiting for her boyfriend called Summer. As she waits, she recalls how she has learnt the craft from her aunt, how her friends have left her out of fear because of her occupation, and how she has come to build a relationship with Summer who mistook her as a make-up lady for brides. The story ends just as Summer steps into the café with a large bouquet. She has promised to take him to her workplace that day.
The story is unfolded in a succession of the protagonist’s interior monologue, held loosely together by associative links. A free-flowing structure is adopted by the opera, with a view to reflecting the special character of this narrative mode.

Daniel Ting-cheung Lo (1986) completed a PhD in Composition at the University of York, UK, in 2017 under the supervision of Professor William Brooks, supported by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund. Previously, he studied composition with Dr Hing-yan Chan at the University of Hong Kong where he graduated with first class honours in 2009 and earned an MPhil (Music Composition) in 2012. His latest orchestral work, Efflorescence – Quasi-Concerto for Orchestra, was premiered by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta in their 2016-17 season opening concert. As a student-resident, he has already participated on Ostrava Days Institute three times; last year, the festival featured the world premiere of his YouHuang (II).