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World Tour-French Opera The Lovers of Shanghai – adapted from the novel by Beila

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World Tour-French Opera The Lovers of Shanghai – adapted from the novel by Beila

November 29
00:33 2023

Maurici Macian Colet, French playwright, has come to Shanghai to announce that he has written a French opera called The Lovers of Shanghai, composed by Quentin Lafarge. The play is based on the Canadian writer Beila’s novel Song of Survivors.


Beila has become well known to many Chinese readers in recent years. The distinctive romantic style and strong humanitarian spirit in her literary works make her unique in the Chinese literary world.


Beila has a passion for the literary expression of the tragedy of the times and the cross-cultural search for love. This led to her great interest in Shanghai during the Second World War, her hometown, and its reflection and description of the humanitarianism and even religious tolerance embodied by the reception of foreigners during the turbulent years.

According to the French playwright, The Lovers of Shanghai will have a world tour starting in 2024. The premiere is scheduled for Paris, France. The Lovers of Shanghai is adapted from the core love story in Beila’s full-length novel Song of Survivors.


Song of Survivors is based on the real-life experience of David (a Shanghai American Telephone Company executive during World War II), the father of renowned Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy (an eight-time winner of Hollywood’s Best Picture Award). The story is about David, who, after hearing a legend in his hometown of St. Petersburg that there is a place called Shanghai in the far east, where people from many countries are received. He then sets off with his family on a journey to Shanghai. Soon after arriving in Shanghai, Dora, a Jewish girl who owns a clothing shop, is deeply attracted to David. Yet living in a precarious life, David can only keep his feelings deep in his heart. David works for the Shanghai American Telephone Company, where he works his way up the ranks of the company from teamster to senior executive with intelligence and hard work. At a cocktail party, the handsome David was deeply adored by the local rich lady, Yao Huijun. When they were in a daze, Yao Huijun suppressed the flames of love because she knew that David already had Dora. She chose to support their love. In the end, in order for her beloved David to be on the last ship to the United States, Yao Huijun accepted the courtship of an American officer against her will. When David and Dora stood on the deck of the warship, holding children in their arms, and waved goodbye to Yao Huijun, she burst into tears… Years later, when David’s Shanghai lover passed away, people found that she was holding tightly in her hand a gold coin with the word Medavoy of David’s family…

The love destinies of several pairs of protagonists in the story of Song of Survivors’ are like lonely sails in the sea, presenting ups and downs without losing the depth and vastness, as well as the grand power of a classic narrative.

The theme of Beila’s Song of Survivors has evolved from a book (both in English and Chinese) to a concert that attracted European and American consuls general in Shanghai; from a documentary film in English and Chinese to a large bronze sculpture that sits across from Shanghai’s Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC); from a film script that was being written by the team of Mike Medavoy to an opera in France; and from the love story of The Lovers of Shanghai to the rest of the world. The love story in The Lovers of Shanghai has spread its wings and flown all over the world. This is a testament to the writer Beila’s use of literature, music and art to show the humanitarian spirit of her great hometown of Shanghai, where human beings share the same destiny, suffer together and love peace. This transnational and national love is touching. It is reported that the ballet of the same name will also enter the choreography stage.


Maurici Macian Colet, who wrote the French opera The Lovers of Shanghai, is one of France’s leading playwrights in the contemporary era. He is quite fascinated by Beila’s novels and loves Chinese culture at the same time. He once wrote La Nuit chinoise, and was awarded the Artcena Prize by the French Ministry of Culture in 2019. Quentin Lafarge, the renowned French composer, composed the operatic arias, by combining traditional European music with traditional Chinese music (both interspersed with Yiddish songs). The strong cast is made up of leading singers from the French Opera House, a powerful cast, and magnificent stage effects, which allows Shanghai to become an invisible and profound city that offers a firm vision of a shared future for all mankind and imagines a world of peace and a better life. Currently, this play is scheduled to present premiere in 2024 globally, including Paris, New York, London, Shanghai, Tokyo and other cities.

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