Viral Lode (2020)
Commissioned by The Opera People
Premiered by Ng Jingyun (soprano), Pauline Lee (piano), and Cyril Wong (recitation).
Poem by Cyril Wong
high voice, piano
Duration: 6' 30"
Viral Lode was written for The Opera People's art song series 'In Our Manner of Speaking: The AIDS Quilt Songbook', which took place just a few days before all cultural gatherings were prohibited in 2020.
First written in the early 90s as a response to the AIDS epidemic, The AIDS Quilt Songbook has grown over two decades to represent a multi-generational response to the stigma of living with a disease. Presenting about one epidemic in the middle of an ongoing pandemic was even more poignant for us as it reminded us that beyond daily statistics, these were the stories of individuals living and coping with a disease, and often dying alone, driving home that every person lost is one who will never be able to live their life to the fullest.
This song Viral Lode was commissioned by The Opera People to add our own voice to the AIDS Quilt with music by Chen Zhangyi and poetry by Cyril Wong. It explores the numbness and loss of finding out that the person you love has an incurable disease.
- notes adapted from The Opera People's facebook post (dated 15 April 2020)
Viral Lode is a poem from Cyril Wong's poetry volume 'Tilting Our Plates To Catch The Light' (p. 59-60), published by Math Paper Press.