Opera Hong Kong’s summer semi-staged performances showcase local singers; this year’s production was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. The fact that this work is more commonly known by its English name, The Magic Flute, is an indication that it is somewhat unusual: it’s known as a “singspiel”, or “sing-play”, which, like a musical, has spoken dialogue between the singing.

Opera travels well. Its stories are the stories of our collective humanity—love, loss, revenge, strife, rebellion, rejuvenation, absurdity, tragedy—and its archetypes not only define cultures but also connect them. In many respects, we can no longer speak in essentializing ways about Western opera or Chinese opera, but rather must address the world of opera and global operatic voices.

Norwegian soprano Margrethe Fredheim has won the inaugural Hong Kong International Operatic Singing Competition (2018) with performances of “Come scoglio” from Mozart’s Così fan tutte, “Song to the Moon” from Dvorak’s Rusalka and “Einsam in trüben Tagen” from Wagner’s Lohengrin.