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"Shining stars" over Beida

Peking University, Mar. 18, 2011: Students spilled out of the 300-seat elective course classroom at Peking University Library. They were eager to listen to a lecture by visiting professor Dai Yuqiang, a renowned Chinese tenor.


When Professor Dai appeared, applause and cheers erupted from all over the classroom. Students looked forward to Professor Dai’s first time teaching at Peking University Academy of Opera. 


Dai was a guest speaker for the “Opera Performing Arts” course that night in Beijing’s early spring.



The lecture was titled “Shining stars - a history of famous tenors and their immortal arias.” Professor Dai told a story of opera in the past century. He spoke of legendary Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, as well as modern tenors like Luciano Pavarotti and Robert Alagna. He talked about Italy, the cradle of opera, as well as patrons of operas such as France, Spain, and the US. He also discussed the evolution - from listening to a single audio track to the stereo, surround sound with screen visuals that people enjoy today.


Using words, pictures, and audio as aids, Professor Dai analyzed, compared and evaluated performances by 10 different tenors born of different nationalities and time periods of the aria “E lucevan le stelle” (Shining Stars) from opera Tosca. He also interspersed his own experiences as well as various nuggets of knowledge from other opera performers.


After giving his opinion of the different versions of “Shining Stars,” Professor Dai expressed the "utmost" respect and appreciation for his colleagues on the global stage.


Ending the short 1-hour lecture was the evening’s climax, a “Shining Stars” aria by Professor Dai himself . His voice and rendition of the character had the students fixated; they were reluctant to leave.


The lecture series is part of the opera education organized by the Peking University Academy of Opera. Inaugurated in April 2010, the academy was the first institution for opera teaching and research in China, aiming at high-level education in that field through a comprehensive discipline of opera theory, performing, composing, directing, stage design, and production management.



Extended Reading:

"Song of Youth" at National Center for the Performing Arts



Translated by: Ma Anyi

Edited by: Jacques

Source: PKU News (Chinese)