xi's moments
Home | Music & Theater

Opera program gives US radio listeners a taste of China

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-09-24 10:14

Chinese composer Hao Weiya is featured in the NCPA opera series broadcast by WFMT Radio Network in Chicago. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The WFMT Radio Network in Chicago, like many main radio stations across the United States, started airing a series of eight operas by the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on Sept 17.

French composer Georges Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, with Olga Peretyatko in the role of Leila and Francesco Demuro as Nadir, was the first of the series to be aired. It was conducted by Donato Renzetti and recorded from a performance at the NCPA in 2019.

The NCPA opera series will be broadcast in two parts. Over the next few weeks, three more operas in part I will be aired at noon on Saturdays.

The first opera will be Antonin Dvorak's Rusalka with a Chinese cast that includes Zhou Xiaolin in the title role; followed by Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow with Song Yuanming as Hanna Glawari; and then by the Chinese composer Hao Weiya's A Village Teacher.

"This opera program not only deepens the cultural collaboration between China and the US, it also spreads the NCPA's voice and sound to the world, introducing the NCPA's high production standards and sharing them with our international audiences," says Gong Ji, vice-president of the NCPA.

Standing out in the series is Hao's A Village Teacher. This is the opera's world broadcast premiere.

A Village Teacher tells the story of a teacher, Yang Caihong, who dedicates her life to education in a poverty-stricken mountainous region. Through the protagonist's ups and downs, the opera gives insight into people's common emotional conflicts and wrestles between idealism and reality, love and betrayal, sacrifice and dedication.

"We could not be more thrilled to be presenting a world broadcast premiere of A Village Teacher by Hao Weiya," says George Preston, president of Chicago Radio Network. "The composer studied in Europe and uses traditional compositional techniques, but he adapts those techniques for the Chinese language, creating a sound that is at once familiar and entirely new."

Hao says he hopes the Chinese characteristics in A Village Teacher could "bring a different cultural experience to US listeners, expose them to Chinese opera and therefore enhance cultural exchanges between China and the US".

Wei Lanfen, deputy director of the programming department at the NCPA, says: "A Village Teacher is sung in Chinese and related a Chinese story, but Hao's combination of Western musical components with Chinese elements and aesthetics has created emotional and dramatic melodies that are embedded in Chinese life. I think US audiences can feel the pursuit of the beauty in humanity."

Another four operas in part II will start airing on Nov 12, beginning with Charles Gounod's Romeo et Juliette with Melissa Petit and Francesco Demuro in the title roles; followed by Gaetano Donizetti's Don Pasquale starring Bruno Pratico as Don Pasquale, Ekaterina Bakanova as Noria and Shi Yijie as Ernesto; and then by Giuseppe Verdi's Falstaff featuring Roberto de Candia in the title role, Rachele Stanisci as Alice and Filippo Polinelli as Ford.

"The NCPA has become a significant presenter of full-scale operas in a relatively short time. In just 15 years the NCPA has become known in the opera world for their high musical standards and production values. They have combined some of the bestknown international interpreters of opera with China's most talented artists to create something truly fresh and vibrant," Preston says.

"The opera performances from the NCPA are on par with those of any other major international opera company we have in our series.

"I think listeners in our network will be impressed that the musical values of this 15-year-old enterprise rival those of companies who have been in the opera business for, in some cases, hundreds of years. We are so proud to be partnering with NCPA to share their work with a wider American audience."

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349