Fantasy of the Red Queen
Eine Oper von Liu Sola
The Chinese composer Liu Sola is one of the students in the legendary composition class at the Beijing Conservatory, reopened after ten years. Her composition and work methods are marked by striving for combinations and interfaces between different musical styles. In her opera ›Fantasy of the Red Queen‹, written in 2005, she manages to combine Western pop, rock, blues and 1920s jazz with motifs of Chinese revolutionary songs, Chinese tango, hip-hop and the music of traditional Beijing Opera. Apart from the Ensemble Modern instrumentalists, it calls for nine Chinese musicians playing drums, lute and zither, a female pop singer and a male Beijing Opera singer. Liu Sola performs and sings the main role.
The opera tells the story of the Red Queen, the fourth wife of Mao Zedong, as a parable of an old woman looking back on her life in a nursing home. Jiang Qing is one of the most controversial figures in modern Chinese history. She was the most important catalyst and driving force of the Cultural Revolution.
After a moderately successful career as a Beijing Opera performer in 1920s Shanghai, the »Red Queen« meets Mao, becomes his mistress and finally marries him. For many years she lives in his shadow. During the 1960s, however, Mao uses his wife’s help to start the Cultural Revolution. Soon she becomes its driving force, using the Cultural Revolution to eliminate personal enemies and rivals and propagating her ideas of »revolutionary art« by ever more brutal means. Hundreds of thousands of artists and intellectuals fall victim to her politics. Her enormous influence ends with Mao’s death – she is arrested and finally kills herself at the age of 80.