A mini-boom in the Middle Kingdom

By Raymond Zhou ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-10-18 08:09:40

A mini-boom in the Middle Kingdom

Chinese soprano He Hul graces opera stages around the world, including this NCPA Verdi gala.

The National Center for the Performing Arts opened its celebration with a concert, conducted by Lorin Maazel, of The Ring Without Words, an 80-minute scale model that took the place of a full Ring that is yet to be staged at NCPA. It revived its much-acclaimed production of Der Fliegender Hollander (The Flying Dutchman) but not Lohengrin. However, it presented a new Walkure in both fully staged and concert versions, the fruit of the China National Opera House though, which a few years ago did Tannhauser.

Related: A country at the opera

What's amazing is China National Opera House's insistence on in-house talent only. Its Wagnerian soprano Wang Wei is a true discovery and delight. For Verdi, NCPA is much more generous, offering two new productions, Nabucco and Otello, with Placido Domingo in the title role of Nabucco. On top of it, there was a star-studded Verdi gala to boot.

For the 16th Beijing Music Festival, a special Verdi program includes a concert gala, a multimedia concert of Requiem, semi-staged versions of Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La Traviata, all with Coro Lirico Veneto and Orchestra Regionale Filamonia Veneta. A co-production of Parsifal by Sachsische Staatsoper Dresden and Teatro Real of Madrid will be presented in Beijing, which is this opera's premiere in China.

Shanghai Grand Theater will re-open in November with Verdi's Attila, which is its China premiere, in a co-production with Palace of Arts in Budapest of Hungary and Shanghai Opera House, with the house orchestra and chorus and two sets of stars in principal roles. Wagner's Ring Cycle, on the other hand, will get short shrift this time with only an HD presentation of the Metropolitan Opera production by Robert Lepage recorded a few seasons ago.

In Hong Kong, The Flying Dutchman and Rigoletto were the highlights. It will be rounded out by Maazel's reprisal of The Ring Without Words, this time conducting the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Guangzhou Opera House imported a production of La Traviata from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.


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