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Monday, March 20, 2017, 10:30

Treat for opera fans

By Chen Nan

Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor will launch this year's NCPA festival in Beijing. Chen Nan reports.

Treat for opera fans
Lucia di Lammermoor, directed and designed by Yannis Kokkos (right), features Chinese-Canadian soprano Zhang Liping. (Photos provided to China Daily)

Lucia di Lammermoor, a coproduction by Russia's Mariinsky Theatre and the National Center for the Performing Arts, will be staged in Beijing from April 9 to 12 as the opener for the NCPA Opera Festival.

Conducted by Valery Gergiev, and directed and designed by Yannis Kokkos, the opera will be performed by both Chinese and Western singers.

"The National Center for the Performing Arts has tried to present a variety of operas for the audiences since its 2007 founding," says NCPA's vice-president Zhao Tiechun.

He adds that the ties between the NCPA and Mariinsky Theatre - one of the most prestigious theaters in Russia - go back many years.

Mariinsky's opera and ballet company performed at the NCPA's opening in December 2007. The company has also toured in China. In 2014, Mariinsky Theatre and the NCPA collaborated on Pyotr Tchaikovsky's three-act opera, Eugene Onegin, in which Gergiev conducted the NCPA orchestra and choir.

Zhao also notes that 2017 marks the 220th anniversary of the birth of Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti, who wrote Lucia di Lammermoor.

The NCPA has produced two of Donizetti's comedies - L'elisir d'Amore (The Elixir of Love) and Don Pasquale.

In 2018, the NCPA will produce the composer's comedy La Fille du Regiment (The Daughter of the Regiment), says Zhao.

Based on Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott's novel, The Bride of Lammermoor, the opera tells the story of two young lovers - Lucia and Edgardo - and two feuding families, which is similar to Romeo and Juliet.

"I am thrilled that the Mariinsky Theatre and NCPA team will introduce this masterpiece to Chinese audiences," director Kokkos says in Beijing.

"It will be the first time for me to work with these Chinese artists. I am very excited.

"Lucia di Lammermoor is an emotional extravaganza, in which music and text come together at the highest level. We will present the story in a complete way."

The director has created more than 100 stage works and won a number of awards, including the French Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, the Laurence Olivier Award and the Prague Quadrennial Gold Award.

Kokkos will make effective use of the color red to symbolize violence and power in Lucia di Lammermoor.

Changing images of nature will also be projected against the stage to portray the characters' emotions.

Kokkos adds that the opera is a great challenge for performers because some of the arias are technically and expressively demanding, such as the scene when Lucia goes mad and kills her bridegroom, Arturo.

Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva will play Lucia.

"I performed the role of Lucia many years ago when I was a student. She is one of my favorite roles, very special. She is very energetic, sensitive and she lives under pressure from her family, especially her brother, who, out of political necessity, forces her into an arranged marriage," she says, adding this is her first time in China.

Chinese-Canadian soprano Zhang Liping will also perform as Lucia in the opera.

The cast includes Italian tenor Stefano Secco, Russian baritone Sergey Artamonov, and Chinese tenors Shi Yijie and Tian Haojiang.

Since the NCPA is under maintenance, Lucia di Lammermoor will be staged at Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center.

If you go

7:30pm, April 9-12. Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, 9 Tianqiao South Street, Xicheng district, Beijing. 400-635-3355.

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

 

 
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