"I Sing Beijing" - a program that enables selected young singers from abroad to learn Chinese opera and perform them in Chinese - was launched Tuesday at the Beijing-based Confucius Institute Headquarters, also known as Hanban.
The program, the first of its type, aims to offer foreign singers the chance to learn Chinese opera, performing arts, language and culture, Tian Haojiang, artistic director and an originator of the program, said at a press conference Tuesday.
Under the month-long program, 20 singers from the US, Italy and several Central-South American countries, including Mexico and Brazil, will learn from top coaches like world-famous British conductor Gareth Morrell, stage director Peter McClintock and Wei Fugen, a professor with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
They will also take intensive language immersion and diction courses before they perform Chinese operas like The White-haired Girl and The Orphan of Zhao in Chinese in front of an audience of 2,000 at the National Center for the Performing Arts on August 18, Xu Lin, director-general of Hanban, said during the press conference.
Though none of these foreign singers has studied Chinese or been to China before, Tian said he didn't think the challenges would be as big as expected due to outstanding talent presented by the singers.
"The program is like a journey of discovery and exploration to me," said Brazilian Max Jota Queiroz, one of the chosen performers. "Chinese opera is quite different from the Italian opera I'm used to, so it's a really exciting new adventure."
Tian said that the program is also expected to help traditional Chinese opera enter more mainstream Western media and become an indispensable part of international vocal and singing competitions.
(China.org.cn, Global Times, July 22, 2011)