A musical about deceased Taiwanese pop diva Teresa Teng premiered in the United Kingdom at Shaw Theatre last Friday, receiving a standing ovation when it was performed in Vancouver earlier last week.

The musical was produced by Spring-Time Stage Productions’ Ko Chi-sum and features Hong Kong actress Perry Chiu. It was brought to the UK by the UK Creative Arts Centre and a reception to mark the occasion was held by London’s Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.

Perry Chiu (right) in a scene from the musical ‘Teresa’. Photo: GovHK.

The musical tells the tale of Teresa Teng, one of the most popular singers in Asia during the 70s and 80s. Teng was Taiwanese and never performed in mainland China due to political reasons. She repeatedly turned down invitations to visit the People’s Republic of China, but pirated recordings of her songs were widely circulated nationwide, and the government’s attempt to ban her songs as “spiritual pollution” proved unsuccessful.

Her -popular songs, such as I Only Care About You and The Moon Represents My Heart, have become classics in the world of mandarin pop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N72dsXD2GdM

“It is often said, ‘wherever there are Chinese people, the songs of Teresa Teng can be heard.’ Her sweet voice and stunning musicality have touched the hearts and souls of generations of the Chinese community. Her life story is both riveting and uplifting,” Director-General of the London ETO Priscilla To said at the reception on the opening night.

“As an open, multicultural and vibrant society, Hong Kong has good fundamentals to develop as an international cultural metropolis. Much effort has been, and will continue to be, made by the Hong Kong government to promote the art and culture scene of Hong Kong to friends around the world.”

From left: producer Ko Chi-sum, actress Perry Chiu and director Benny Yu. Photo: GovHK.

The musical marks the 20th anniversary of Teng’s death. Teng died an asthmatic attack while on holiday in Thailand in 1995.

The musical was performed in Hong Kong last year and has since been shown worldwide. It received a standing ovation in Vancouver earlier last week and will be performed in Singapore this week.

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Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.