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China, Day 8: The Night of Bel Canto

Lee Family Reunion 2006: China
A Tronkie Travellogue
Day 8: The Night of Bel Canto, Peking (Beijing) University

I spend the day getting more photos processed and trying to get a bit of work done that does not require Internet access. I have brought my copy of Silberschatz, Korth, and Sudarshan's Database System Concepts, 5th edition and am going to rewrite my entire CIS 560 (Database Systems) course this summer, along with the greater half of my CIS 590/730 (Introduction to Artificial Intelligence / Principles of Artificial Intelligence) course.

In the afternoon, my Second Aunt and her husband arrive. I watch Jennifer and Cynthia give their puppies, JJ and Buddy, a bath, and I capture Buddy in mid-shake:

In the evening, my Fifth Aunt and I attend The Night of Bel Canto at Peking University Hall. (Beijing University still writes its name as Peking University, or PKU.)

The performance consists of the following songs from several popular operas:

  • "Dormiro sol nel manto mio regal" from Verdi's Don Carlos

  • "Come dal ciel precipita" from Verdi's Macbeth

  • "La calunnia è un venticello" from Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia

  • "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" from Bizet's Carmen

  • "Voi che sapete" from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro

  • "Stride la vampa" from Verdi's Il Trovatore

  • "Liber scriptus proferetur" from Verdi's Requiem Dies Irae

  • "Ich liebe dich" by Grieg

  • "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix" from Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila

  • "O mio Fernando" from Donizetti's La Favorita

  • "Ave Maria" by Luzzi

  • A Chinese language poem set to music, performed by Li Xiang

  • "O sole mio" by Capua

  • "La fleur que tu m'avais jetée", the Flower Song from Bizet's Carmen

Li Xiang, the tenor, is the the best singer of the quintet. The baritone is a close second. Of the sopranos, none of the three stands out particularly, though I'm told one took second place in a national competition. The accompanist is very technically precise, but is one of the most mechanical pianists I've ever heard.

My uncle's older driver, Mr. Zhang, drives us home. My cousin Kevin's wife Judy has arrived during the early evening, bringing the total to 15 people. Over rum raisin and coffee ice cream, we discuss the family history. I snap the following picture at the table:



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 23rd, 2006 02:12 pm (UTC)
the opera program sounds rilly interesting. I've heard (from vocal major friends of mine) that the difference between hearing primarily asian language speakers sing and hearing primarily western (english, german, french, italian) language speakers sing is quite pronounced. Did you notice a difference?

...and I've loved reading about the food. Makes me hungry just thinking about it!
Jun. 23rd, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
Asians vs. Europeans singing in Italian, German, French
I have to admit that I haven't heard enough opera to be able to tell. Li Xiang reminds me a little of Placido Domingo, and I couldn't detect a strong Asian accent of any kind in his singing. One of the sopranos sang German with an odd accent, but that was about all I could make out.

As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again - and that's a fact!

Jun. 23rd, 2006 03:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Asians vs. Europeans singing in Italian, German, French
interesting. was just curious!
Jun. 23rd, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC)
coming from an opera major myself...


do you know who sumi jo is?
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 24th, 2006 01:17 am (UTC)
Beijing Universities
No, not at all - the ones that have Beijing in their name (e.g., Posts and Telecommunications, where my first graduate teaching assistant Songwei Zhou came from) are generally newer.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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