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Fatal Desire

opera for chamber ensemble with ten players

Instrumentation:  Korean instruments: daegum, piri, seanghwang, gayageum, percussion; Western instruments: clarinet in B flat, bass clarinet in B flat, guitar, violoncello, percussion

Instrumentation  Korean instruments: daegum,...

Shen Nalin

Composer:   Shen Nalin


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Fatal Desire - synopsis
In exile upon a small island and in search of his idyll, a Chinese poet lives with his wife (Xiang Yu) and his lover (Qinger); the couple’s infant son stays nearby with a neighbour. Returning from a trip overseas, the poet discovers that Qinger has fled the ramshackle seaside batch the three of them share, apparently with another man. The poet immediately sits down to write a novel narrating the story of their love – a novel, in the poet’s mind, both for and by her. As has been the case in the past with his poetry, his novel is transcribed for him, word by word, by Xiang Yu. Scene Three of the opera, presents the poet’s account of his first sexual encounter with his lover, juxtaposed with Xiang Yu’s longing for her absent son. The opera ends with reports of the tragic outcome of the imminent departure of Xiang Yu also from their home – her murder at the hands of her husband and his suicide. - Duncan Campbell

Scene three of the opera Fatal Desire is subtitled as “Bingbu Yaoyuan de Sinian”, “Diyi Ge Yue” and “Chu Yie”. It was first performed in Asia Pacific Festival 2007 at Te Whaea, National Dance and Drama Centre, Wellington, featuring Linden Loader (mezzo soprano), Wang Xing-Xing (soprano), James Meng (tenor), Daniel Shen (voice of the son), and directed by Sara Brodie with Gao Ping conducting the Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea.

Contents note

scene three

Text note

Libretto by Shen Nalin

Performance history