In 1998, when tenor Ding Yi received a phone call from an agent in Australia inviting him to sing at the Sydney Opera House, he was forced to make a tough decision.
Ding was already a famous tenor in China, enjoying great success in the role of Calaf in Turandot in Beijing in 1996. With numerous awards, including winning places in the International Aria Competition in Marseille, France, and The First International Opera Competition of Shizuoka, Japan, he was a popular performer throughout Asia. He was also a regular performer at various national galas and events, which guaranteed him a stable and wealthy life. However, faced with the temptation of performing at the iconic Sydney Opera House, Ding decided to walk away from the career he had built up over 10 years and start over again in a totally new country.
"You know, it's a great honor to be the first Chinese tenor in the Sydney Opera House," says Ding, 50. "I like a challenge. Though my friends called me a fool, I still wanted the experience."