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Duquesne Opera Workshop Heads for 17-Day Tour in China

Mary Pappert School of Music Voice Chair Guenko Guechev, the school’s Dean Edward Kocher and 12 members of the Duquesne Opera Workshop will travel to China May 14-May 30 for a 17-day tour. The itinerary includes four concerts by the student performers and three master classes by Guechev at universities and musical conservatories in Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao and Xian.

The Opera Workshop is a selective performing ensemble made up of graduates and undergraduates in the voice program. Along with providing a unique chance to perform, one of Guechev’s primary educational objectives for the trip is to spark an interest in and respect for Chinese culture, particularly Chinese classical opera, which demands the highest level of skill in dance, acting and martial arts, as well as singing. To that end, the group’s stops will include a visit and performance at the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts in Beijing.

Guechev began planning this trip for his students immediately after he and his wife, Xiu-ru Liu, a graduate of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, returned from a series of master classes and recitals in China in Spring 2006. Liu, a vocalist and teacher with connections to music education programs in China, will serve as translator during the trip.

With opportunities to perform with Chinese singers, the trip has enormous potential as a learning experience for the Opera Workshop students. Chinese singers and teachers also stand to gain from their exposure to the group from Duquesne. The trip, according to Guechev, comes at a time when China is hungry for Western opera, and in deference to that desire, the group from Duquesne will perform a diverse repertoire, 20 works in all, including arias by American composers Mark Adamo and Leonard Bernstein.

Kocher believes the trip could help establish more extensive cultural and academic ties between the University and Chinese music education programs. “Each year the voice program and the Opera Workshop attract talented applicants from abroad,” Kocher said. “Considering the size of the pool of talent in China, it could be advantageous to establish connections that promote student recruitment as well as faculty exchanges.”

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.