The audience discussion following Lisa’s Land of Smiles revolves around (cultural) relationships, expectations and prejudices. Following on from the characters Mi and Sou-Chong in Franz Lehár’s operetta, but above all in the new adaptation by Elisabeth Pape and Abigél Varga, we talk to the performer Vivian Yau (Hong Kong) about her personal experiences in the cultural sector and in the musical representation of Asia in the West. In conversation with the ethnomusicologist Dr Yongfei Du, the individual will be placed in a larger context and stereotypes and internalised racism will be explored.
Concept and Moderation: Änne-Marthe Kühn
Dr. YONGFEI DU
Dr Yongfei Du is a lecturer and postdoctoral candidate in ethnomusicology at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media and at the Center for World Music at the University of Hildesheim. She completed her bachelor’s degree in music education and musicology at Nanjing Normal University (China) and later continued her studies in social musicology at Humboldt University in Berlin. Her research interests include (self-)orientalism and cultural appropriation, questions of identity, gender, and race in musical practices, intersectionality in German music education, and postcolonial cultural theoretical approaches. In recent years, she has conducted extensive fieldwork and archival research in China, Germany, Brazil and Ghana (Africa).
She is currently involved in the project “Fair play in music education. A culturally sensitive approach to children’s music” (bpb). She has also collaborated with journalists from German radio stations such as Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR, 2019) and Deutschlandfunk Musikjournal (2021) to discuss topics such as the history of Chinese music and racist children’s songs in German music education.
Hong Kong soprano Vivian Yau holds a Bachelor of Music from the Juilliard School and a Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She was most recently seen in the title role of Silent Opera UK’s immersive production of Vixen at the Hong Kong Arts Festival 2023. Yau makes her German debut with the role of Mi in LISA’S LAND OF SMILES at the NKO. Previously, Yau has sung numerous operatic roles, including the title role in the world premiere of Pierangelo Valtinoni’s Alice in Wonderland at the Hong Kong Arts Festival 2021. Other career highlights include her Carnegie Hall debut as the soloist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Cecilia Chorus of New York and the soprano solo in Handel’s Messiah in Radio Television Hong Kong’s annual Christmas concert. As an active advocate of opera as a powerful art form in today’s world, Yau frequently collaborates with international contemporary composers. Digital performances during the Covid period include Michael Ching’s Zoom Speed Dating Tonight! with Brevard Music Center’s Janiec Opera Company, and Ken Steen’s and Mary Birnbaum’s APART/MENTAL with #OperaHarmony and OperaVision. Yau was voted “My Favourite Young Music Maker” by the viewers of Radio Television Hong Kong.
LISAS LAND DES LÄCHELNS
A dating operetta based on Franz Lehár by Abigél Varga (music) and Elisabeth Pape (lyrics)