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Top opera troupe Shanghai bound

Updated: 2010-07-09 10:54
By Zhang Kun (China Daily)

Top opera troupe Shanghai bound

A stage scene of the opera La Boheme by the Teatro Regio from Turin. Provided to China Daily

Performers from Turin's Teatro Regio will visit the city to perform the classic La Boheme, Zhang Kun reports.

The Teatro Regio from Turin, Italy will stage two performances of La Boheme at Shanghai Grand Theater on Aug 4 and 6.

The Teatro Regio was the theater where this classic opera premiered in 1894. In August, a large cast of more than 200 will arrive in Shanghai and produce an authentic production of La Boheme, one of the world's most popular operas, by Giacomo Puccini.

This is yet another heavyweight opera project this year for Shanghai Grand Theatre. In September, the Cologne Opera House will present The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner.

"We would not have been able to invite these prestigious opera houses if not for the World Expo being held in Shanghai," said Qian Shijin, artistic director of Shanghai Grand Theatre.

La Boheme is the second most-frequently staged opera in the world, after Madame Butterfly, also by Puccini. Telling a tragic love story between a poor poet Rodolfo and Mimi, a seamstress who is mortally ill, La Boheme features beautifully designed musical personalities.

"You will find the poet's music personality completely different from that of the painter," said Zhang Feng, a baritone with Shanghai Opera House, who has played La Boheme in Italy. Shanghai Grand Theater specially invited Zhang and Paolo Sabbatini, the cultural consul with the Italy Consulate in Shanghai, to have a public discussion about the Turin production of La Boheme.

La Boheme was first presented in China in 1986, featuring internationally acclaimed tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Sabbatini helped to organize and coordinate the show in Beijing. According to Zhang, who has listened to the top tenors such as Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jos Carreras playing Rodolfo, Pavarotti gave the best presentation of the role, as his voice best pictured the melancholy and fragile personality of Rodolfo.

"While French opera often tell tales of the court, Italian opera is for the people - it is in our tradition and you hear people singing opera as popular songs anywhere, such as the boatmen steering gondolas in Venice," said Sabbatini.

The Teatro Regio production of La Boheme was adapted from director Eugenio Guglielminetti's 1984 production. The theater's music director, Gianandrea Noseda, will conduct the shows in Shanghai.

The Ring of the Nibelung will be staged at Shanghai Grand Theatre in September. Known as the most important opera work by Wagner, the ambitious project is made up of four parts and a complete performance will take four nights.

Upcoming performances

Top opera troupe Shanghai bound

La Boheme

7:15 pm, Aug 4, 6

150-800 yuan

The Ring of the Nibelung, two cycles of four nights:

The Rhinegold: 7:30 pm, Sept 16, 21

The Valkyrie: 6:30 pm, Sept 17, 22

Siegfried: 6:30 pm, Sept 18, 23

The Twilight of the Gods: 5:30 pm, Sept 19, 24

300-1,600 yuan

Shanghai Grand Theatre, 300 Renmin Avenue