Xiaolu Guo Libretto to be Performed at BBC Proms

19th July 2019

The famous Proms season opens with Zosha Di Castri’s latest work Long Is the Journey - Short Is the Memory, which marks the 50th anniversary of the lunar landings.

The piece examines how humanity has “looked to the moon over different time periods and different cultures,” she told BBC News.

It’s not only the composer’s Proms debut, but the first time her music has ever been played in the UK.

It’s a crazy way to begin but I’m very honoured,” she told BBC News.

The 1969 moon landings are a running theme in this year’s Proms season, with highlights including a Sci-Fi prom featuring scores from films such as Gravity and Alien: Covenant.

Di Castri’s work was inspired by three pieces of writing - Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi’s haunting Alla Luna, in which a man sees his grief reflected in the moon’s face; Sappho’s The Moon, in which the ancient Greek poet writes about the silvery brightness of the night sky; and a new text by Xiaolu Guo, which reflects both ancient Chinese legends and the recent Chang’e-4 exploration of the far side of the moon.

Their words are fragmented throughout the piece, while the title, Long Is the Journey - Short Is the Memory, is lifted from Leopardi’s verse.