It's 60 years since Verdi's "La Traviata" debuted in China in 1956. But the current staging at Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts marks the first time a staging has been accompanied by the China Philharmonic. It's part of the NCPA's Opera Festival, which is opening the door to new talent.
With its lavish stage set, this is the fourth incarnation of the NCPA's 'Traviata' since it premiered in 2010 to critical acclaim.
Thirty-two-year-old Soprano Song Yuanming, who has been studying opera singing in Vienna, is a rising star on the international stage. She is thrilled to be starring as Violetta for the first time in her career.
"It is the dream of every soprano to sing as Violetta in 'La Traviata'. A soprano's career can be fulfilled only after she has sung a few key characters on the stage. Violetta is definitely one of them. This is the first time that I have sung the character in a full version. I am grateful to the NCPA for this opportunity," Song said.
It's 60 years since Verdi's "La Traviata" debuted in China in 1956. But the current staging at Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts marks the first time a staging has been accompanied by the China Philharmonic.
And Song is not the only newcomer in the NCPA's 'Traviata'. This version sees an overdue collaboration with the China Philharmonic, listed among "Up and Coming Orchestras" by the world's leading classical-music-review publication, 'Gramophone'.
Meanwhile, Conductor Yu Long, who has conducted 'Traviata' with many theatres in the world, is especially impressed with the NCPA chorus.
"The NCPA version of 'La Traviata' is world class in every respect. But I am still surprised at the ability of the NCPA Chrous Group as it's such a young group. Their outstanding performance has made this cooperation a very pleasant experience for me," Yu said.
Established in 2009, the NCPA Chorus Group has commanded the respect of both Chinese and international artists.
"Ever since the first day that our group was established, we have been performing on China's top stages. It has been a great challenge but also a very good incentive," said Cao Ruidong of NCPA chorus group.
'La Traviata' will play at the NCPA until April 25th, with roles alternating between China's veteran singers and newcomers.