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He Hui is going to play the title role in director Anthony Minghella's version of "Madame Butterfly," which will be staged as the annual opera of the Guangzhou Opera House from Sept 21-23.
"I play in 'Madame Butterfly,' 'Aida' and 'Tosca' most frequently. As for the role as Madame Butterfly, I don't need to refer to others' performances because I believe I'm the best at playing the role," said He at Tuesday's press conference.
He, the only Chinese singer who has performed in the world's top six opera houses, is currently one of the most popular lyrical sopranos in the world. She has played in "Madame Butterfly" more than 100 times.
Her voice is renowned for its resonance. Once when He was staging "Madame Butterfly" at Verona's Opera House in Italy, a member of the audience suddenly stood up and cried out, "Turn off the amplifier!" But in fact, the open-air section of the opera house doesn't have amplifiers.
The soprano also stands out with her emotional depiction of the unfortunate life experiences and the complicated thoughts of Cio-Cio San, the show's Madame Butterfly.
He's rich timber of voice conveys well Cio-Cio San's cheerful dream of her husband coming back and her unbearable pain and sorrow of saying goodbye to her son before committing suicide.
The singer has worked with Daniel Oren, the conductor for "Madame Butterfly," at Guangzhou Opera House many times. Oren, who has been called "the next Leonard Bernstein", accepted the invitation to be the conductor without hesitation when he knew that He was the heroine.
It will be the first time for He to play in Minghella's version of "Madame Butterfly." The Oscar-winning Minghella, who died in 2008, directed and produced "Madame Butterfly" as the opening play for the 125th anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 2005.
Minghella's version combines opera and a puppet show. The 3-year-old son of Cio-Cio San will turn up as a life-size puppet instead of being played by a real person. Three men in black and covered by black mask will conduct the puppet in silence, creating a unique atmosphere.
During the three-day show of "Madame Butterfly" at Guangzhou Opera House, He will have a day off on the second day. Cynthia Lawrence, the most popular soprano at the Metropolitan Opera, will fill in for He.