Cher Public

Diegetic soda

On this day in 1963 the musical Tovarich opened at the Broadway Theater.

Born on this day in 1882 composer Gian Francesco Malipiero

Born on this day in 1900 soprano Ofelia Nieto

Happy 86th birthday bass John Macurdy

Born on this day in 1933 bass Jules Bastin

Happy 65th birthday conductor James Conlon

  • Happy 74th Birthday to Kunqu diva Hua Wenyi. Hua belonged to one of the first graduating classes of the Shanghai Kunqu Academy, initially studying male (sheng) roles. She soon switched to female (guidan) roles. A 1961 tour to Hong Kong in the title role of “The Legend of the White Snake” saw her crowned as “the little Mei Lanfang”.

    When the Cultural Revolution struck in 1965, Kunqu ceased to be performed. Hua could only find work playing very small roles in Beijing opera versions of the 8 Model Plays performed during that era.

    In 1978, she returned to the newly-reconstituted Shanghai Kun Opera Theater, eventually becoming its director as well as one of its leading stars.

    In 1989, Hua Wenyi was touring in the United States when a series of unfortunate events happened back in mainland China. She and several other members of her troupe decided to stay in the U.S. Collaboration with Peter Sellars led to a Kunqu performances at the Los Angeles festival and to a special 2-hour version of “The Peony Pavilion” with music by Tan Dun. (A conversation between Hua and Sellars can be found here.

    Her Hua Kun Opera troupe, based in Los Angeles, works to promote Kunqu in the U.S. and throughout the world. Hua regularly returns to China to teach and perform at festivals.

    Hua Wenyi in one of her signature roles, Du Liniang in “The Peony Pavilion: Wandering in the Garden, Surprised by a Dream”.

  • antikitschychick

    what a hoot! And one of the judges is Hibla Gerzmava, who seemed to love the performance :-D.

  • Was anyone really clamoring to see Jean Pierre Aumont or Vivian Leigh singing and dancing?

    • manou

      If this is Jean-Pierre Aumont, I am the Archbishop of Canterbury.

      • Krunoslav

        That is Byron Mitchell, who had also shared a B’way stage with Vivien Leigh in Giraudoux’s BATTLE OF ANGELS a few seasons before.

        Anyone remember who earned the NYT phrase “overpromoted chorus boy”?

        • I didn’t say that that dancer was Aumont. BUt Aumont was the other big star in the show.

    • Noel Coward I think summed it up best, saying that if one is producing a musical comedy and one of the stars is Vivien Leigh, then the other star really must be a singer.

  • antikitschychick

    what a beautiful rendition of Visi d’arte by Ofelia Nieto. Thank you for sharing it WindyCityOperaman…. a shame the orchestra sounds like a carousel. Perhaps there is a remastered rendition?

  • manou
    • LT

      Video report from rehearsals: