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Veteran American soprano sings China's praises

Updated: 2013-05-17 14:19
By Xu Jingxi in Guangzhou ( China Daily)

Veteran American soprano sings China's praises

Soprano Renee Fleming [Photo/China Daily]

Soprano Renee Fleming, acclaimed as "America's most beautiful voice", will debut in Guangzhou on Friday, after a successful showcase in Beijing last Sunday, as part of the Meet in Beijing Arts Festival.

The opera diva's connections with China are deeper than just concert tours. Her experience with vocal arts in China comes from her fellow students at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School, and she gave a master class in Shanghai in 2007.

"There is no question that a choral tradition has fueled a desire to sing and the tonal quality of Mandarin and Cantonese makes for much musical talent," Fleming says.

"I have no doubt that some of the greatest world talents will come from this part of the world in the future - and they already are."

Baritone-bass Shen Yang is one of those musical talents and Fleming has been generously helping the rising star she picked out from the master class in Shanghai to shine on the world stage.

Fleming connected Shen with the New York-based Metropolitan Opera, the Juilliard and vocal coaches who could help prepare the young singer in advance of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

Shen won the prestigious competition in 2007, despite being the youngest participant.

"He would have quickly found his way without me - so great is his talent - but it was a pleasure to help, and I have followed his progress with great joy," Fleming says.

Unlike her protege, fame didn't come early to the soprano.

Fleming began performing professionally while still a graduate student at Juilliard. Her first major career breakthrough came late in 1988, when she won the Metropolitan Opera auditions at the age of 29.

But the soprano says it is important for young singers to know when to say "no" and let their voices mature.

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