Born in Shaanxi, Hui He completed her musical and vocal studies in her home country.
In 1998, she made her first-ever onstage appearance at the Shanghai Grand Theater as Aida. Chinese soprano Hui He has become not only one of the most famous interpreters of Cio-Cio San to be heard but also one of the most acclaimed interpreters of the titles roles in Aida and Tosca. She has sung at most of the world’s leading theaters.
Interview by Dominique Musorrafiti
This is a selected interview from
Planet China Vol. 03 issue
How did you decide to study singing and specialize in opera?
I like singing since I was a child. When I was 18 years old, I decided to enter the conservatory for learning music as a professional singer. The first time I heard a CD of “La Boheme” I felt full of emotion. I started to cry. I immediately loved the opera. I thought it’s the most beautiful music I ever heard.
How did you start your singing career? In which opera did you debut?
When I was 26 years old I made my debut as Aida at Shanghai Grande Theater: I won the Placido Domingo competition and the Giuseppe Verdi competition. My International debut was in 2002, as Tosca in Royal Opera House of Parma. After this big successful performance, I got a lot of invitations from other important Opera House as La Scala, Vienna State Opera House, Metropolitan Opera House, Arena di Verona, Liceu Opera Barcellona, Munchen, Berlin …
Chinese soprano Hui He breaks down the barriers of time and culture in the world’s greatest opera houses.
Besides passion, study, determination, and will have you had to make sacrifices to achieve the technique of opera singer?
I must study always. A professional opera singer needs a lot of concentration and energy to be better and better. I feel very lucky to make sacrifices for art because I’m always in love with my new roles.
What were the most important milestones of your profession as a soprano?
I think the most important milestone was my debut in La Scala as Tosca. It was the first time La Scala invited one Asian singer as the title role of the most famous Italian opera. Also, my career in Vienna State Opera House and Metropolitan Opera as Aida and Madama Butterfly is unforgettable.
Is there a role you preferred to play in your career? What is your favorite author?
I love every role I did in my career, Aida, Madama Butterfly, and Tosca became my most famous roles, but I can say Manon Lescaut is my favorite role. My favorite composers are Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini. Also, I’m in love with La Gioconda of Amilcare Ponchielli.
What do you love most about your job?
My job is full of beauty, imagination, and challenge.
She is the star of a musical documentary: The Soprano from the Silk Road
What do you feel before performing on stage? What is the stage that has excited you the most?
Before performing, on stage, I feel always excited and a little bit nervous. Use my voice to give love to audiences, for me, is the most exciting thing!
During your career, did you find any difference in performing in China or Italy compared to other countries?
In China, most of the audience is very young, for them is very exciting to attend opera. In Italy, most of the audiences have an elder age and they have a lot of experience. After 20 years of career, I think every show stage is the same. I must do my best and give my best to audiences because my voice is the most beautiful gift I had from God.
Photos courtesy of Hui He
Topic: Chinese soprano, Chinese soprano singer, Chinese soprano hui he, famous Chinese soprano
CHINA-UNDERGROUND. Ciao! My name is Dominique. I’m Italian and I’m proud to be a mix. My father was an Italian chemical engineer and high school teacher, with Greek and Polish heritage. My mother is Haitian, she was high school language teacher, with Dominican, Spanish, French, Portuguese, African and Native American heritage. Being a mix makes me appreciate to want to understand different cultures and lifestyles. I grew up in Italy, lived few years in Haiti, travel around main European capitals, lived seven years in China, six in Spain and UK. Traveling makes me feel that we can learn something from every situation in every part of the world.