Hayley's Mandarin love song wins over Taiwan

By Lincoln Tan

Hayley Westenra sang for 40,000 people at the opening ceremony of the World Games. Photo / Martin Sykes
Hayley Westenra sang for 40,000 people at the opening ceremony of the World Games. Photo / Martin Sykes

After wowing the Taiwanese by singing in Mandarin, Kiwi soprano Hayley Westenra has clearly won new fans in the island of 23 million.

Tickets for the star's first Taiwan concert in October sold out in a day after her performance at last week's opening ceremony of the 8th World Games.

Her repertoire included a Mandarin love song, The Moon Represents My Heart, performed in front of 40,000 people.

Andy Tseng, Taiwan's New Zealand-based press counsellor, says it is now impossible for people to get tickets for Westenra's Moon Festival show at the National Concert Hall on Oct 3, where she will perform with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.

"The tickets have sold out after her performance at the opening ceremony," Mr Tseng said.

The quadrennial World Games opened at the southern city of Kaoshiung on July 16, and are seen as hugely important and a rare opportunity for Taiwan to bask in the international limelight.

"It is so great that Hayley respects the hosts by singing not only one of Taiwan's favourite love songs, but also in the language of the host country," said Auckland-based Taiwanese student David Hsieh, who watched the opening on the internet.

"A lot of people are talking about her now back in Taiwan."

But the opening ceremony was boycotted by the 100-member contingent from the People's Republic of China.

It was represented by a lone Taiwanese staff member carrying a sign marked "China" and another carrying a Chinese flag.

Comments on the state-run China New Service acknowledged the presence of Chinese athletes in Taiwan without mentioning the opening ceremony, which was declared open by Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.

Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949 and the communist mainland still views the island as part of its territory.

But its boycott stands in contradiction to the rapidly improving relations between the sides.

More than 4800 athletes and staff from 105 countries, including 43 from New Zealand, are participating in the games, which run until Sunday.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 25 Apr 2017 08:19:01 Processing Time: 581ms