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HUI Steve Ngo-shan / 許敖山


The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci / 利瑪竇的記憶宮殿
[Li ma dou de ji yi gong dian]

Birth Y: 1974 Birth C: HONG KONG Gender: Male

Dest: Opera

Media Specification: Digital multimedia opera

Commission: Zuni Icosahedron

Performer(s): Title Singer: TIAN Hao Jiang (Bass) as Matteo Ricci, Libretto: Diana LIAO, Conductor: Manuel NAWRI (Berlin, Germany), Producer / Director / Designer: Mathias WOO, Guest Performer: Takao KAWAGUCHI (Tokyo, Japan), Puppet Design: The Puppet and Its Double Th

First perf.: St. Ignatius Chapel, Hong Kong, 5 Nov 2010

Duration: 90:00

Perf. Country: HONG KONG

Context: New Vision Arts Festival 2010

Instruments: viola, sheng, keyboards, percussions, electronics

Perf media: Ableton Live, Cycling '74 Max/MSP, Yamaha Vocaloid

Prog. notes: Opera as a genre has a long history in the world of Western classical music. This genre of classical music has been strictly defined by tradition as to what does and what does not constitute an opera.  Electronic music, however, with its decades-long only history, is a relatively new form of expression made possible by innovative science and technology. Its aesthetics, techniques and skills as well as parameters are still evolving. Interactive dialogues between electronic music and traditional opera offer ample room for dialectical exchanges, both as a challenge and reaction to established forms of musical expressions and as an inspiration for us to test the limits of crossing over and enriching two totally different disciplines. //// Commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of Matteo Ricci, Zuni Icosahedron presents an operatic performance based on Jonathan Spence’s book of the same title The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci. Incorporating many new thinking trends in performing arts, this modern opera in 7 acts has solid texts as its foundation and versatile and daring contemporary music as pillars, together with puppetry, multimedia design and digital image, the digital collage of singing, image and space reveals the legend of the Jesuit priest who came to the Ming Dynasty China in the late 16th century for missionary work and his effort to convert the Chinese people to Christianity through teaching them the Western art of memory, creating a memory palace transcending time, space and culture. The opera is written by Diana Liao, playwright of Poet Li Bai, with music composed by Steve Hui Ngo-shan. Internationally acclaimed basso cantante Tian Hao Jiang, portraying Matteo Ricci, will interact with various virtual characters in this palace through a diversity of performing forms, such as music, singing, dancing and puppetry, to lead the audience to explore the internal journey of this pioneer of exchange.

Editor: Ka Lun CHEUNG

Comment: See also interviews with the composer (in Chinese):,,