He Hui Returns

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2007, 12:00am

He Hui Returns

Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Concert Hall

Reviewed: Oct 26

Soprano He Hui returned to give a solid and assured performance of operatic arias.

The young soprano, whose operatic career is on a rapid rise around the world, treated us to some well-known arias and some pieces with which the public perhaps may have been less familiar. No matter - whether delivering a famous aria or something less mainstream, He (right) did so with style and verve.

It's a joy to hear an assured voice and to know after only a few phrases that the singer will have no problems with the evening's diverse programme, which included arias such as Puccini's O mio babbino caro (from Gianni Schicchi) and Cilea's Io son l'umile ancella (from Cavalleria rusticana).

The highlight of the evening was the Pace, pace, mio dio! from La Forza del Destino by Verdi. The light accompaniment of strings and harp through most of the aria enabled He's voice to come through clearly, showing all her style and skill. The soprano can sing piano, forte and keep an even colour throughout her range.

The one drawback is the Concert Hall - it's not a hall for singers. At times a singer's voice is almost swallowed by the bad acoustics. The venue is substandard and another more suitable one must be found.

However, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Lu Jia, was up to the task of accompanying He. In Lu's extremely capable hands, the orchestra sounded very good in the overtures, including the lovely Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana.