Music for a new children's opera composed by Li-Ying Wu

Li-Ying Wu has composed the music for a performance of Cecilie Eken's book ‘V’. The opera is about a young girl's loss of her father – but also about hope. ‘Historien om V’ will be premiered March 10 at ZeBU

Picture from 'Historien om V' · Photo by Søren Meisner

Historien om V (V's Tale) is a marvellous tale about a child's journey into the world. An educational journey about joy and pain, humour and anger, hope and recognition. The story is based on Cecilie Eken's renowned children's book V, about a girl's loss of her father and her a burning wish to get him home. Alongside author Cecilie Eken, composer Li-Ying Wu and opera singer Ingeborg Fangel Mo have collaborated on melting the narrative and the music into one.

Li-Ying Wu’s music takes its point of departure in the sound of the music and how sound shifts during the course of the music. The music is therefore built on a highly refined treatment of instruments and sound which is also clearly reflected in her works with electronics. The composer's material unfolds in musical forms that can perhaps be described as sculptural rather than dramatic. The musical narratives are often expansive and unfold bit by bit. Procedures are not linear but unfold in spirals. On a larger, one could almost say philosophical, level, the music embraces a dialectic on the level of ideas that places both Asian and Western culture in a reciprocal perspective. This duality is strengthened by Li-Ying Wu’s search for new paths and possibilities within the field of tension between electronic and acoustic instruments.

Premiere review in Politiken

In a review of the premiere, Politiken writes:

“...a good and cruel experience. The piece is able to attach singing and story-telling to the inner life of children and thereby give their parents an important lesson”.

And Li-Ying Wu is praised for her music.

“...composer Li-Ying Wu has created songs, music, and sound to effectively help the atmosphere in the play along. Sometimes you hear small noises when the mood is low. Sometimes one feels the notes take a free fall when the seriousness peaks, and sometimes the music assembles into wide, tonal chords as the narrative unfolds into emotional states. But one also experience atonal, lively rhythms and rickety thoughts. Li-Ying Wu seems to be a completely undogmatic tonal artist who chooses style and expression in relation to what is fittingly supportive of the drama”.

Read the review here (in Danish)

Historien om V is conducted by Marc van der Velden, Libretto by Cecilie Ekken, and performed by Amanda Bøgestrøm Isaksen (Actress), Peter Schlie Hansen (Actor), Ingeborg Fangel Mo (Mezzo Sopran), Mina Fred (Viola), and Frode Andersen (Accordeon).

The opera is available 10-20th of March 2020 at ZeBU. Read more