Faye Wong, one of Asia’s most famous female vocalists (see WiC9), will make her showbiz return in a Chinese national tour starting in October.
The tour, says China Business View, will start in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, and visit 10 other cities including Beijing and Shanghai. It also comes with a punchy price tag – Wong’s appearance fee will be Rmb7 million ($1 million) a show.
For her fans, Wong is worth every single penny.
“She is a legend,” Cheng Tao, a DJ on China Radio International, told the China Daily. “It’s like Americans talking about Madonna, she represents a certain era of pop music, a certain trend, and a vision of being unique.”
“I am so happy I almost fainted!” was the reaction of another, a netizen on Sohu.com, a popular internet portal.
Since her marriage to Li Yapeng in 2005, Wong has largely stayed out of the limelight in favour of family life in Beijing. She still makes occasional appearances at fundraising events for her Smile Angel Foundation, which helps children born with cleft lip (her second child was born with the condition).
Rumours of a comeback had stirred last May when she starred in an advertising campaign for a shampoo that reportedly earned her Rmb20 million.
Not a bad pay day. But tabloids say the singer may be returning to the stage out of economic necessity. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily speculates that Wong’s husband has made a number of poor investments, for instance.
With Wong’s fees so high, Wuhan Evening News reckons that promoters will have to charge Rmb2,000 for tickets just to breakeven.
Those who can’t afford a ticket can catch Wong singing on this year’s CCTV Spring Festival Gala, a four-hour-plus variety show to be broadcast on February 13. The programme, perennially the world’s most-watched show since it was first televised in 1983, falls on the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday, when Chinese families get together to eat jiaozi (dumplings).
The show’s dominance is not quite what it once was, with some beginning to tire of its blend of kitschy comedy, song, dance and patriotic propaganda. Very profitable kitsch, mind you: electronics maker Midea Group paid Rmb52 million to be the show’s banner sponsor at the CCTV advertising auctions in November.
“The show once did give Chinese people much pleasure. But in the last 20 years it has become more and more insufferable,” Ling Cangzhou, a Beijing-based editor leading an online campaign to boycott CCTV, told Reuters.
Perhaps Wong can lend some of her magic to rejuvenate the show’s time-worn reputation.
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