Culture\Cultural Exchange

Opera's boom in China helps promote cultural exchanges with US, says leading American soprano Fleming

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-25 10:00

Opera's boom in China helps promote cultural exchanges with US, says leading American soprano Fleming


The boom of opera in China has a major role to play in promoting bilateral cultural exchanges with the United States, leading American soprano Renee Fleming has said.

"I've been to China several times and every time I come, I'm really thrilled to see the increasing interest in Western classical music, and particularly in the art of song and in the vocal arts," said Fleming, known affectionately as "the people's diva" in the United States, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The opera, though struggling in the West, has witnessed a flourish in recent years in China. More and more grand opera houses and performing centers have shown up in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and an increasing number of audience members are buying tickets to the opera performances.

"I was amazed when I was singing in Guangzhou and how young the audience was and how many women, young women, were in the audience. So that kind of thing inspires me very much... I'm fascinated to see what people respond to," said the beloved artist who has earned four Grammy Awards and is viewed as one of the finest sopranos of her generation.

"And I am also seeing the tremendous amount of talent coming out of China and I expect there to be more and more. So I'm anxious and interested in following that," she said.

"I was amazed when I gave a master class in Shanghai some years ago and a very young man sang for me... only 23 years old, he is already so cultivated really on the highest international level. So that's what I really love to discover," she said.

Fleming is currently on her Asian tour which will take her to concerts in Hong Kong, Beijing, Xi'an, Taipei and Seoul. She will also give master classes at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing and Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Born in the US state of Pennsylvania, Fleming has played the heroine role in more than 55 operas, and audiences world wide highly lauded her masterful renderings of works by composers, including Richard Strauss, Mozart and Handel.

Fleming has become a household name in China after she performed together with Mexican tenor Ramon Vargas, Korean-born soprano Jo Su-mi and Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing on Aug. 14, 2008.

She also made appearances at major international events like the Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, and the diamond jubilee concert for Queen Elizabeth II.

"I have found a welcome wherever I sing (in China). And certainly I know we feel the same way. There are great Chinese artist who come here, (and) Americans love (them)," said Fleming.

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