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Rare chance to join in rare Italian opera

THE rare Italian opera "Le Villi" ("The Villis or the Fairies") will debut in Shanghai in May and bring audiences a glimpse of an ethereal musical world.

And for some members of the public a chance to get on stage as well.

The opera is being presented by the Shanghai Opera House as part of the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival.

"Le Villi" is the first opera by the great Italian composer Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), one of the most influential musicians of his time.

It is based on the short story "Les Willis" by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. Karr's story was in turn based on the Central European legend of the Willis, which appeared as the storyline in the ballet "Giselle."

Artists from the Shanghai Opera House will fill most of the roles in this production. Director Li Wei is one of the best opera directors in China today. The chorus, orchestra and dancers are all from the opera house.

Wei Song and Xu Xiaoying from the Shanghai Opera House and Yuan Chenye from Beijing will be the principal performers. The Italian conductor Bruno Dal Bon has been invited to collaborate with them for the opera.

The Shanghai Opera House held a promotion for "Le Villi" last Wednesday afternoon at the Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Pudong.

It provided the public a rare chance to get much closer to opera than as just an audience member. The afternoon offered an opera photographic exhibition and a chance to get close-up with the music.

The opera house will also start to audition members of the public for roles in the crowd scenes. Sixty members will be selected and will have to attend rehearsals at the Shanghai Opera House on April 25-26 and a rehearsal at the Oriental Art Center on May 1-2.

And then they will show up on the stage as real performers of "Le Villi" at the Oriental Art Center on May 3-4.

"We hope it can make the public more interested in opera and fall in love with it by making closer contact with it," says Li.

Before the deadline on Friday, anyone who wants to take part in the opera can contact the Shanghai Opera House by dialing 6249-1460 or 6249-1666, or sending an e-mail to

Date: May 3-4, 7:15pm

Address: 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong

Tickets: 80-380 yuan (40 yuan for students)

Tel: 6249-1666, 6854-1234


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