Sound Bites spotlights up-and-coming singers and conductors in the world of opera.
Sound Bites: Ying Fang
Photographed by Dario Acosta in New York
Top by Badgley Mischka / Skirt by BCBGmaxazria / Makeup and hair by Affan Malik
© Dario Acosta 2014
Ying Fang grabbed the attention of New York City operagoers last February, when she scored a triple knockout in three contrasting roles in the Met + Juilliard "Concert of Comic Operas" at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater. Paced by James Levine, Fang sang Konstanze in an Act I excerpt of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Teresa in the first scene of Benvenuto Cellini and Adina in Act I, part two of L'Elisir d'Amore, her pearly, clear lyric-coloratura soprano sounding equally at home in Mozart, Berlioz and Donizetti. "When I first got this assignment, I was kind of — Really? Well, okaaaaaaaaaaaay. To be honest, I didn't think that I could do so many different things and different roles in one night in one concert. But it was such a rewarding experience. Until you try, you never know that you can do this. But it worked out. Maestro Levine was so inspiring, because he's always so encouraging. He will advise you to do things you have never done before — just to explore the repertoire and to test yourself. We always feel comfortable trying things out with him."
A native of Ningbo, in southeastern China, Fang was a student at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music when she was heard in a master class by Brian Zeger and Ken Noda, who encouraged her to apply to Juilliard. She received her master's degree from the school, where she studied with Edith Bers, and is now entering her second year in the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She's sung two seasons at Wolf Trap, where her roles have included Contessa di Folleville in Il Viaggio a Reims and Handel's Cleopatra, and has appeared at Aspen Opera Theater Center and Alice Tully Hall.
New York will hear more from Fang this season. This month, she is scheduled to appear in the Met's new production of Le Nozze di Figaro as Barbarina, a character she deems "the female version of Cherubino, just starting to experience love." Later in the season, Fang makes her role debut as Iphigénie in the Met + Juilliard production of Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide. She made her Met debut in 2013, in the revival of William Kentridge's production of The Nose, as Madame Podtochina's Daughter and the Female Voice in the cathedral scene. "My first day in rehearsal for The Nose at the Met, I was so nervous. It was the cathedral scene, which is very full of people — there were so many other singers, the chorus and also the supers. I felt so nervous singing in front of all of them, but they were so encouraging. Then one nice guy told me, 'Ying, you're doing great. Just enjoy.' And then I realized, 'Yes, it's my dream to be able to work at the Met. I should enjoy it!'"
F. PAUL DRISCOLL
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