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Top opera star gives public masterclass

Updated: 2022-01-14 08:39 ( China Daily )
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He Hui (third from right) gives advice to Shanghai Opera House's singers performing arias from the opera Turandot. CHINA DAILY

The Shanghai Grand Theater presented He Hui with the "artist of the year" award on Jan 6 and announced the opening of her first public masterclass in the city.

In coming weeks, He will conduct 13 masterclasses for members of the Shanghai Opera House chorus, focusing on the company's upcoming performance Turandot. He first performed in the production in 2019, when she believed her voice was ready for the title character of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini's Chinese princess. She presented Turandot with the Shanghai Opera House under the baton of Xu Zhong in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

On Feb 18 and 19, she will join maestro Xu and the Shanghai Opera House again to present two consecutive performances of Turandot. The production also marks the launch of Shanghai Opera House's 2022 music season.

At her first masterclass, He coached Shanghai Opera House singers performing arias. Soprano Zhao Lili performed two arias of Liu, a fragile and innocent young slave girl in the opera, while Tao Kuo, the baritone, and two tenors Zheng Yao and Wu Botao sang the Ministers' Trio. Bass singer Yu Yang also sang a song of mourning by the character Timur.

He spoke highly of their performances and said the upcoming shows of Turandot will mark the fourth collaboration between her and artists of the Shanghai Opera House.

"Together we will dig into the challenging parts of each character and further polish our performance on the stage," says He.

"He Hui is widely recognized as the greatest Chinese opera artist," says Xu, director, Shanghai Opera House. "She has presented more than 100 shows of Tosca, Madame Butterfly and Aida, and now she will share her whole experience in the most straight-forward and simplest way with our singers."

Born in 1972, He made her opera debut with a performance of Aida at the Shanghai Grand Theater in 1998.

"Over the past 25 years, I've developed and experienced changes in my voice at almost every stage of my career," He says. "I believe there is no destination in the pursuit of vocal art, and I am constantly exploring my potential, and hope to reach the peak of my vocal capability.

"I am more than happy to share my experience, technical details, emotional expressions, as well as little stage performance tricks with everyone in Shanghai."

Other than the Shanghai Opera House chorus, 30 audience members will be invited to sit in each of He's masterclasses.

"We sing opera on the stage without the microphone, and make sure our voice is heard in the farthest corner of the theater," He tells the media at the Shanghai Grand Theater. "We'd like to show the public our professional secrets about how to use our voice, and hope more people will become interested and fall in love with opera art."

Those interested to attend the masterclasses can apply through the Shanghai Grand Theater's WeChat platform.

If you go

Turandot

7:15 pm, Feb 18, 19. Shanghai Grand Theater, 300 Renmin Avenue, Huangpu district, Shanghai.

021-6386-8686.

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