Diverging from straight-ahead narrative, The Legendary Diva uses songs, storytelling, a play within a play and the spoken dialogue of Taiwanese opera to play up the life and loves of the title character in presenting a document of the legendary life story and consummate art of Chiung-chih Liao, the Taiwanese opera actress and national treasure. Vocal scores of Taiwanese opera, or gezaixi, form the basis for the production. The script cleverly interweaves the stories of her mother, her later life and her training in opera, imbuing them all with the spirit of their times. Neither a musical drama nor a musical, this could be classed as opera, orchestral theatre or even a new Taiwanese opera – a category-defying and altogether new type of performance. It operates between disciplines, using a variety of elements including traditional opera, modern drama, classical Chinese music, dance and original music, fusing them into a seamless whole. It is a 70-minute performance that passes in a single breath! Committee member: Cho-Mei LEE
Chiung-Chih Liao, the Legendary Diva of the Taiwanese Opera and NCO
National Chinese Orchestra performed Chiung-Chih Liao, the Legendary Diva of the Taiwanese Opera and NCO on November 2, 2008 at the National Concert Hall.
Taiwanese opera singer Chiung-Chih LIAO is famous for her singing the“kudan”(tragic woman) role, in which her quivering voice, sorrowful singing and her mournful actions make audiences weep. The NCO hosted the concert with Ms. Liao's life story as the main theme, as her childhood was as tragic as her kudan songs. Even though her early life was filled with personal tragedy, by the age of 14 she found refuge with an opera troupe in which she apprenticed.
The concert featured Taiwanese opera and newly composed Chinese music pieces performed by the NCO which were combined to showcase the extraordinary emotive voice and sublime talents of Ms. Liao, while multi-media, light, and stage installations such as a ship replica and an island were employed to evoke a unique atmosphere of traveling in the past.
Originally a biography written by the journalist Hui-Ling CHI, The Legendary Diva of the Taiwanese Opera, was adapted into a script by the renowned librettist Ju-Fan SHIH, which tells the story of how Liao was abandoned early in her poverty-stricken life. Well-known composer Liang-Hui LU was commissioned to write and arrange songs in the Taiwanese opera style.
However, the tragic biographical story and sad operatic songs provided a positive message to the audience, showing how the brave young singer was able to overcome such hardship to eventually become the master opera star beloved for her artistic achievement.
About Natioal Chinese Orchestra
The National Taiwan University of Arts Experimental Chinese Music Orchestra was established by the Ministry of Education in 1984. During that time, the small orchestra performed regularly in cultural and educational centers around Taiwan. However by 1992, they became a full-sized symphony orchestra officially known as the National Chinese Orchestra (NCO) and began touring in Taiwan, Europe and the United States.
NCO combines traditional Chinese music with classical western styles and is adept at various styles of music. They work closely with many composers to develop new works as they build a contemporary music culture from the traditional spirit of Chinese music.