China hits the Western operatic 'High C'

Updated: 2014-06-23 11:53

By Li Ang in New York (China Daily USA)

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"If you don't have the High C, then you're not good," said Yunpeng Wang, a 25-year-old baritone.

"What is interesting about China is they are building the halls, they are finding out what to put in them, and how to get audiences all at the same time," said music critic Ken Smith.

The comments about the "High C" and "the halls" were part of a discussion at the Asia Society in New York about the changing opera scene in China. A brochure distributed to the audience introduced the topic on the evening of June 19 by stating: China is confirming Time magazine's prediction that "the future of opera may be in China."

Ying Huang, a renowned Chinese operatic soprano hailed as "the nightingale from China," and Wang were joined by pianist Siyi Fang in the discussion, which included live performances by the artists, as well as film clips of three operas.

Wang is a member of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development program. He will make his Metropolitan Opera debut this coming November in The Barber of Seville as Fiorello. Fang is a fellow of the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.

"There's a boom of opera in China right now, major cities built up new performing art centers like NCPA (National Centre for the Performing Art) and they are booking for things to put in opera houses" said Smith, who is a performing arts critic for the Financial Times in Hong Kong.

In next five to 10 years, China will be a "great market for Western opera," Huang said.

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(China Daily USA 06/23/2014 page3)