Chinese soprano He Hui rings in Macau’s New Year

He Hui

Macau’s 2019 was ushered in by a New Year’s Eve concert headlined by Chinese soprano He Hui who sang selections from Italian composers Puccini, Verdi, Catalani and Cilèa. These were interspersed with orchestral pieces from Strauss (Richard as well as Johann) and von Suppé, presumably to keep faith with the annual concert’s title “Starry Vienna”.

Although He Hui sang the Puccini arias from Tosca and Madama Butterfly for which she is well-known, the concert included her first public performance of “Mercè, dilette amiche” from Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani and “Io son l’umile ancella” from Cilèa’s Adriana Lecouvreur, a role she is debuting in Verona in the spring. Her rousing rendition of Zheng Qiufeng’s “Pamir, How Beautiful My Hometown” made a case for the inclusion of Chinese concert pieces in the standard repertoire, at least as far as East Asian recitals are concerned.

Visiting conductor Arvo Volmer directed the Macau Orchestra.

Peter Gordon is editor of the Asian Review of Books.