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    Dr. Sun Yat-sen to Receive its American Premiere in Santa Fe

    2014-01-07

    CHINESE AMERICAN COMPOSER’S FIRST OPERA, DR. SUN YAT-SEN, TO PREMIERE IN SANTA FE

    American audiences will have their first opportunity to hear the opera Dr. Sun Yat-sen by the 37-year-old Chinese American composer, Huang Ruo, when it receives its American premiere by The Santa Fe Opera, July 26, 2014. The world premiere took place in Hong Kong in 2011.

    The opera explores the public and private life of the renowned revolutionary from 1913 when he was in exile in Japan until his death in 1925. The composer explains his story. “Anyone can read the history of the Revolution,” says Huang Ruo. “Our opera imagines Sun Yat-sen in a broader, personal context.”

    The revolution which ended the Chinese monarchy catapulted Sun Yat-sen to fame and paved the way for the democratization of China. Many factions were at war with one another and a price was put on Sun Yat-sen’s head, requiring him to flee to Japan. While there he met Soong Chingling the daughter of Charlie Soong one of his most avid supporters. Sun Yat-sen was 47, she was 21. Despite her father’s objections they married and Soong remained at his side as his helpmeet until his death in 1925.  

    The opera will be sung in Mandarin by a cast of Chinese and American singers. Huang Ruo describes the music as integrating Chinese operatic and theatrical elements with western contemporary musical language.

    The cast is headed by the distinguished tenor, Warren Mok, who was instrumental in the writing of the opera, and who sang the title role at the Hong Kong premiere. Soong Chingling will be sung by Corinne Winters. She is a graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2010. Charlie Soong will be sung by Dong-Jian Gong. He appeared in Tan Dun’s Marco Polo which was performed world-wide and recorded for Sony Classics. The conductor is Carolyn Kuan, currently music director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. All four are making their Company debuts. James Robinson is the director, Allen Moyer scenic designer, and James Schuette costume designer. Robinson is the artistic director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis who has staged many operatic productions throughout the country.

    Composer Huang Ruo whom The New Yorker called “one of the most intriguing of the crop of young Chinese American composers,” was born in Hainan, China. Admitted to Shanghai Conservatory when he was twelve, he came to the United States and entered Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He received both his Master’s and Ph. D. degrees from Juilliard. He has written in a wide range of styles including classical, jazz, folk rock, film, dance, theater and experimental improvisations.

    ”Huang Ruo is one of the most gifted and imaginative composers writing today,” said General Director Charles MacKay. “Dr. Sun Yat-sen is very moving and beautiful, and fits the Company’s mission perfectly.” The opera is one of six being performed in the 2014 Santa Fe Opera Summer Festival season. Opening night is June 27 with Bizet’s Carmen followed by Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Beethoven’s Fidelio and a double bill of Mozart’s The Impresario coupled with Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol.

    Information on the 2014 season can be found at www.santafeopera.org.

    CONTACT:  Joyce Idema, Cindy Layman                                                                                                                                     press@santafeopera.org

     

                   

     

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