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Aaron Zigman

Emigre w/Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Long Yu

Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: February 9, 2024

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1 E´migre´. Act I – Prologue  
2 Shanghai  
3 Look Ahead  
4 Dreaming Must Wait  
5 This House We Share  
6 My City  
7 Recitative  
8 No Word from Home  
9 In a Woman's Hands  
10 Yu Garden  
11 In a Perfect World  
12 One Magical Night  
13 Our People  
14 Ent'acte  
15 Light a Flame  
16 The Song Home  
17 You Cannot Deny My Love  
18 And Another Day  
19 Forever  
20 Once Upon a Night  
21 Where Is My Father  
22 The Yeshiva in the Ghetto  
23 Nowhere to Go  
24 Through a Window  
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Kindness and a compelling story of love triumph over destructive historical forces in Émigré, an oratorio in two acts with music by Aaron Zigman, libretto by Mark Campbell and additional lyrics by Brock Walsh. Co commissioned by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO), its Music Director Long Yu and the New York Philharmonic, and hailed by China Daily as “A musical celebration of compassion”, the work was recorded by Deutsche Grammophon in the context of the world premiere in Shanghai (17 November 2023). It is the fifth project to emerge so far from DG’s exclusive and fruitful agreement with the SSO and Maestro Yu, their previous recordings including The Song of the Earth, Gateways and Live from the Forbidden City – Carmina Burana. 
The recording of Émigré is set for digital release on 2 February 2024. It boasts a potent combined force of 190 musicians, among them tenors Matthew White and Arnold Livingston Geis, sopranos Meigui Zhang and Diana Newman, mezzo-soprano Huiling Zhu, and bass-baritones Shenyang and Andrew Dwan; members of the New York Philharmonic Chorus; the Lanzhou Concert Hall Choir; and the SSO conducted by Long Yu. Its physical release (2 CDs) will follow on 28 June 2024.

Émigré was inspired by China’s unparalleled decision to open its borders to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi oppression in Europe. Between 1938 and 1941, Shanghai welcomed around 20,000 Jews from Germany, Austria and Poland. The cosmopolitan free port became a haven to many – including a number of outstanding musicians who joined the multinational ranks of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra – and Shanghai became known as “the Noah’s Ark of the Orient”.

Recognising the contemporary resonance of the humanitarian impulse behind these events, the SSO’s current Music Director initiated the oratorio project. “Émigré shows how people can come together in difficult times,” observes Long Yu. “I’m very proud of the Shanghai people, who embraced those who came there in need of help. We all need to think about how we could connect with others. I’ve worked with musicians around the world without ever thinking about where they’re from. Music is our common language. It’s the best language to deliver a message of hope.”

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