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A symphony for Guan Yu

(China Daily)

08:48, June 18, 2012

The life of Guan Yu, one of the best-known historical figures in East Asia, will be featured in a symphony performance played on traditional Chinese musical instruments on June 17 in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. It's the symphony's debut in the province's capital city.

Guan, traditionally portrayed as a red-faced warrior with a long lush beard, was a general serving under warlord Liu Bei during the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220-280) and is the epitome of loyalty and righteousness. The symphony is divided into nine parts, each focusing on one of Guan's life stories that people nowadays still take delight in talking about, most of which are the fictional tales from Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Audiences will "see" Guan tear down six generals through five heavily guarded passes when the orchestra of 100 musicians strike up and the big screen onstage displays related video clips to further arouse emotions.

The audience will be moved by the friendship between Guan and Liu Bei when poetry reading accompanies the music, conveying Guan's emotions when he takes the oath with Liu Bei in a peach blossom garden.

The composer also skillfully relates various musical instruments according to the characters' personalities. For example, he chooses the sonorous suona for the brave Guan and romantic violin music for the gentle Liu.

8 pm, June 17, Symphony Hall, Xinghai Concert Hall, 33 Qingbo Lu, Ersha Island, Yuexiu district, Guangzhou. 020-8735-2222.


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