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Prelude to Love
Single-Channel Video
11 min 55 sec

YAO Qingmei extended an invitation to a retired Chinese female soprano, previously a member of the Liberation Army Cultural Troupe, who now resides in France, to perform the patriotic song I Love You, China. This song was initially featured in the 1979 film Overseas Children海外赤子, a poignant narrative about Chinese Malaysians returning to Hainan Island in China during the “open door” period in the recent Chinese history.

YAO’s video masterfully captures the elegantly attired singer as she takes the stage; a representation of poised grace and anticipation. As the lofty musical prelude commences, the singer summons her emotional depth, poised to deliver the opening note. However, in a startling twist, the artist  disrupts her just at this pivotal moment. The music halts abruptly, only to recommence, leading to a repetition of this sequence. The soprano’s demeanor and expression are laden with potent ideology and symbolism. The film places particular emphasis on the palpable tension preceding the performance and its sudden dissipation. Viewers are privy only to her emotional journey and physical adjustments as she oscillates between a state of initial anxiety and subsequent relaxation, highlighting the contrast between these repeated instances.

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