On March 9th, the NCPA (National Centre for the Performing Arts) children’s opera commission Snow White premiered at the NCPA Multi-functional Theatre. ZHANG Xin, DUAN Nina, WANG Zenan and their fellow opera singers gave an operatic re-telling of a fairytale that has captured the hearts of children from all over the world.
Tenor WANG Zenan sings the Prince
The chamber orchestra, conducted by YUAN Ding and composed of more than a dozen of the China NCPA Orchestra’s members, performed the melodic prelude. Faced with the question, “Who is the most beautiful woman in the world?”, the Queen’s magic mirror, played by HUANG Yanming, returns a jealousy-provoking answer. DUAN Nina, as the Queen, showed her wicked madness, giving expression to her hollow pursuit of vanity in the aria “Black Robes.”
The Queen is jealous of the beauty of Snow White
Snow White, alone at home, escapes getting strangled to death with an enchanted ribbon
As the scene changed, the Seven Dwarfs, performed by opera singer ZHAO Denghui and NCPA Chorus members got the stage. At the end of a laborious day in the Starlight Forest, they discovered Princess Snow White, falling asleep in the woods. Brought to life by opera singers in collaboration, Duc, Dopey, Sleepy and the other dwarfs' personalities, with their goofy shenanigans and extravagantly mischievous choral piece “Rainbow Kingdom,” won heartfelt laughter from the children.
The smallest of the Dwarfs, Dopey, picks up the apple and presents it to Snow White
The Prince awakens Snow White with his true love
The climax of the 60 plus minute children’s opera came with the entrance of WANG Zenan, as the Prince, whose “I Have Crossed the High Mountain” is rhythmic and potent, revealing bravery and resilience in his far-searching journey for true love. When the Prince awakens Snow White with a kiss, WANG Zenan and ZHANG Xin, as Snow White, sang the opera’s catchiest duet, “The Crystals’ Blessing,” which conveys the true power of love to conquer evil to the children.
Snow White and the Prince start their happily ever after life
Snow White’s curtain call was just as full of surprises. The seven dwarfs cheerfully beckoned each character to the stage, while the children chatting with their “companions” on stage by clapping along with the music.
On the evening of March 10th, another cast, led by CHENG Wenhui, HU Yue and LI Yang, took the stage. Snow White, the children’s opera, will bring the unique charm of opera to our young audiences until the 14th of the month.
Photos by LING Feng