Experience the romance of one of China’s most heart-rending love stories through a narrated musical performed by the vocal talents of sopranos: Iúnó Connolly and Waimay Yau; mezzo soprano, Phoebe Haines; baritone, Jacob Bettinelli; and the piano skills of Leona Crasi.
A weaver girl from heaven comes to earth to have some fun. She gets rather more than she bargained for when she meets an ox herder and the pair fall madly in love. But this love between a celestial being and a mortal man is doomed without the help of a flock of magpies. Join us to hear this romantic tale, the foundation of China’s Qixi festival also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, told through music performed by this talented collection of artists from the family of musicians supported by charity Talent Unlimited:
Iúnó Connolly (Soprano)
Iúnó Connolly is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) where she studied with Lillian Watson and Jonathan Papp. She was a soloist for the RAM/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata Series and a member of the Academy’s prestigious Song Circle. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music with a First Class Honours degree.
Waimay Yau (Soprano)
Waimay Yau is a soprano currently studying with Philip Doghan and Audrey Hyland at the RAM in London. She is a Talent Unlimited Artist, a member of St Alfege Church Choir Greenwich, and a Soprano Scholar with The Esterhazy Singers. She won the Louis Watt Competition in 2014, and was granted First Prize in the Hungarian Music Festival Competition 2017 in Bucharest.
Phoebe Haines (Mezzo Soprano)
Phoebe Haines studied at the University of Cambridge, the Royal College of Music (RCM), and the Guildhall School. She has apprenticed as a Young Artist at the Salzburg Festival, Aldeburgh Music, and the English National Opera. In summer 2016, Phoebe represented the United Kingdom at iSING! International Artists Festival, China, which saw her on a 6-week tour of China, performing a range of Mandarin-language repertoire at the Suzhou Grand Theatre and Beijing’s Tianqiao Arts Centre.
Jacob Bettinelli (Baritone)
Jacob Bettinelli is in his final year of undergraduate studies at the RCM with Alison Wells and Gary Matthewman, he is a Britten-Pears Young Artist. He will continue his Postgraduate studies at the RCM as a Scholar in September. Recent solo highlights include a concert in Lucca premiering music by Puccini (senior) under the baton of Bruno Nicoli (La Scala) and a recording for BBC2 documentary ‘The story of China’.
Leona Crasi (Piano)
Leona Crasi currently studies at the RAM under the tutelage of Colin Stone. Over the years, she has worked with professors from prestigious music institutions such as Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Juilliard School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music and Royal Conservatory of Music. Leona has been recognised in both national and international competitions and festivals across Europe and United States, and has performed solo and chamber concerts in Romania, the US, England, Hungary and Spain. She was granted First Prize in the Hungarian Music Festival Competition 2017 in Bucharest.
The narration will be in English, with the songs performed in English, Chinese, Italian, Germany, French and Russian, featuring well-known classical pieces including:
And This is my Beloved (English)
Magpies’ Bridge Song (Mandarin)
La Nuit (French)
Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from Mozart’s The Magic Flute (German)
Jacob and Phoebe: Time to Say Goodbye (Italian)
Olga’s Song (Eugene Onegin) (Russian)
China Exchange presents the Lovers’ Bridge of Magpies in partnership with Talent Unlimited. A charity that provides exposure and support to music students of exceptional talent but limited means. (Reg no: 1139220)