Esplanade Presents

Rhapsody in Yellow: A Lecture Performance with Two Pianos

Ming Wong (Singapore/Germany)

Jointly presented by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and Singapore Art Museum

16 Aug 2024, Fri, 8pm

17 Aug 2024, Sat, 8pm

1hr 15mins

(Intermission: None)

Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade

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Photo credit: Sebastian Reiser
Photo credit: Monika Karczmarczyk

At a time of rising tensions between the United States and China, artist Ming Wong presents a musical lecture-performance that traces the journey of Sino-American “ping-pong” diplomacy, starting with President Richard Nixon’s historic state visit to communist China and his meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong 50 years ago. Evoking an international piano competition and a table tennis match, two classical pianists collaborate on and improvise a performative unification of the sonic regimes of the US and China.


In a ping-pong double concerto accompanied by archival moving images and spoken word, they explore the role of European classical music, modernism and myth-making in the rise of these two nations in the 20th century. From table tennis and television to tanks and trade wars, Rhapsody in Yellow: A Lecture Performance with Two Pianos charts the changing balance of power between the two nations, in a duet of discord and harmony, chaos and serendipity, humour and pathos.


Rhapsody in Yellow premiered in Steirischer Herbst (Austria) and has been presented in other international festivals such as Berliner Festspiele and SPIELART Theatre Festival. It was conceptualised and created by acclaimed inter-disciplinary artist, Ming Wong, who has been recognised for his innovative reimaginations of film and popular culture. Touching on themes of identity, social structures and the language of cinema, his works have toured and been exhibited internationally, and is part of the collections of Singapore Art Museum; M+, Hong Kong; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. Other notable works by the artist include Life of Imitation, which represented Singapore at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 and was awarded a special mention; Wayang Spaceship (2023), commissioned by Singapore Art Museum’s The Everyday Museum; and the book for the acclaimed 1997 musical, Chang & Eng.


Concept, Text and Video

Ming Wong 

Music Direction

Henry Hao-An Cheng 


Ben Kim, Mark Taratushkin

Music conceived by

Ming Wong, Henry Hao-An Cheng 

Arranged by

Christopher Schlechte-Bond 

Cinematography and Lighting

Liam Morgan 

Camera Assistance

Elias Fritz 

Technical Direction

Torsten Podraza 

Production Management

Mariko Mikami


Commissioned by steirischer herbst ’22 and Singapore Art Museum

Produced steirischer herbst ’22

German premiere: Berliner Festspiele, January 27, 2023.


There will be a post-show dialogue after each performance.

Admission Age:
6 and above.
Language: English with some Mandarin
Surtitle Language: English
Things to Note:
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Artist Information

Ming Wong

Ming Wong, born in 1971 in Singapore, is an artist working with cinema and popular culture to consider the construction, reproduction and circulation of identity. Wong represented Singapore at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 with the solo presentation Life of Imitation, which was awarded a Special Mention. He has had solo exhibitions at leading institutions worldwide, including UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo; Singapore Art Museum; REDCAT, Los Angeles; and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. Wong has been included in numerous international biennials, including the Venice Biennale; Performa, New York; Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane; Sydney Biennial; Shanghai Biennale; Lyon Biennale; and the Liverpool Biennial. He lives in Berlin. 

Singapore Art Museum

Singapore Art Museum opened in 1996 as the first art museum in Singapore located in the cultural district of Singapore. Known as SAM, the museum presents contemporary art from a Southeast Asian perspective for artists, art lovers and the art curious in multiple venues across the island, including a new venue in the historic port area of Tanjong Pagar.


The museum is building one of the world's most important public collections of Southeast Asian contemporary art, with the aim of connecting the art and the artists to the public and future generations through exhibitions and programmes. SAM is working towards a humane and sustainable future by committing to responsible practices within its processes.


To find out more, visit

Date & Time

16 Aug 2024, Fri


Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade

17 Aug 2024, Sat


Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade
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Price $48 $40

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