Club Lunch: My Life as China’s First Western Diva
My Life as China’s First Western Diva
He Hui – in Hong Kong to sing the opening night of Opera Hong Kong’s new production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Aida” before a run of performances of “Madame Butterfly” at New York’s Metropolitan Opera – is the leading Chinese singer on the Western opera stage. He Hui recounted her journey which started in Xi’an where at eighteen she was admitted to the prestigious Conservatory of Music. She also talked about bridging the Eastern and Western traditions of high culture, what it means to be internationally and critically successful, how Opera is developing in China today and her thoughts on her future.
After placing second in the prestigious Operalia competition in 2000, He Hui was recruited to move to Italy. After a debut as Tosca at the Teatro Regio in Parma, she has remained there ever since, living in Verona, where she is a staple of the performances in the city’s famous Roman Arena. She is the subject of new documentary entitled “Soprano from the Silk Road” and is currently cooperating on a new biography entitled “Journey to the West: A Chinese soprano’s path to prima donna”.Her vast repertoire included the role of Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, Leonora in La forza del destino, Liu in Turandot, and the title role in Manon Lescaut, appearing frequently in leading opera houses including Deutsche Oper Berlin, Wiener Staatsoper, Paris Opéra-Bastille, and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.