Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Culture / Music and Theater

Passing the baton

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-08 06:02
Share - WeChat
Conductors Zheng Xiaoying (left), 93, and Wu Lingfen, 77, greet the audience onstage after the Chinese version of classic opera La Traviata by Verdi was performed in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Nov 25. Wu conducted the opera produced by the Zheng Xiaoying Opera Center. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The symphony orchestra of the Xiamen Song and Dance Troupe and the Xiamen Opera Philharmonic Chorus were a few days away from performing La Traviata, an opera in three acts by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. They were ready to present a Chinese version in Xiamen, Fujian province, produced by the Zheng Xiaoying Opera Center, which was founded by 93-year-old conductor Zheng Xiaoying.

However, this time, the conductor, who was going to take the baton to perform with the symphony orchestra and the chorus for La Traviata, was not Zheng. It was 77-year-old Wu Lingfen, one of Zheng's students.

On Nov 25 and 26, the opera was performed for two sold-out nights. Wu and Zheng, who is the artistic director of the opera production, worked side by side during the rehearsals, which were not only for the opera, but also for a teacher-and-student reunion.

While Wu played in the orchestra pit, Zheng was behind her, giving Wu suggestions for dealing with the music and inspiring the symphony orchestra and chorus to work with the conductor.

"It feels like that I am in a class with her again. She always encourages me and gives me great advice," says Wu, who received a gift from Zheng — a brand-new baton — during the rehearsals.

It was the first time that Wu conducted an opera produced by the Zheng Xiaoying Opera Center, which was established on Jan 11 by Zheng and is headquartered in Xiamen.

The first private nonprofit art institution in China devoted to producing operas and promoting young opera talent, the center was conceived about 10 years ago.

"We held hands together when we walked into the theater to do rehearsals and she introduced me to the young singers who were going to perform in the opera," Wu adds. The opera featured some rising tenors and sopranos, including Gu Wenmeng and Guo Wei.

La Traviata was one of the first Western operas staged in China. It premiered in the country in 1956, and Zheng, who was the principal conductor of the China National Opera House at the time, has conducted the opera more than 160 times since. It was also one of the first Western operas to be adapted into Chinese. Zheng participated in the adaptation personally. In 2011, she brought the Chinese version of La Traviata to Xiamen and, in 2020, she presented the arias of the opera with a concert, also held in Xiamen.

1 2 3 Next   >>|
Most Popular
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349