Arguably the most successful Western opera singer to come out of China, soprano He Hui is known for her roles in Madama Butterfly, Tosca and Aida. She has sung at the world’s leading opera houses—making history as the first Chinese woman to sing Tosca at La Scala and Aida at New York’s Metropolitan—but He Hui’s story begins in her hometown of Xi’an, China, where she began studying music for the first time as an 18-year old at the prestigious Conservatory of Music.
As she has made her journey west to Verona, her adopted Italian home in the ultimate of Silk Road stories, He Hui has, along the way, encountered a number of successes and challenges. From her second-place finish in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition and her debut as Tosca in the notoriously difficult opera city of Parma to learning Italian by living, breathing and experiencing life in Verona, He Hui’s journey has been one of East meeting West and of East and West living alongside each other.
“Engaging and passionate” — Joshua Dummer in Caixin. “Even an opera philistine like me (I’ve only ever been to one once and I fell asleep) felt the need to listen to a Verdi opera after finishing the book, to see if I could appreciate what Ho and He clearly love.”
Journey to the West
He Hui: a Chinese soprano in the world of Italian opera,
by Melanie Ho
Abbreviated Press, October 2017 (ISBN 978-9881364340)
More information at: hehuijourneytothewest.com
South China Morning Post
Cha literary journal