By Chris Ruel
(Photo: Zane Gan)
San Francisco Opera has released “In Song: Meigui Zhang,” the latest installment of its Webby Award-winning “In Song” series. The series presents portraits of artists through song and stories, with past episodes presenting a cross-section of genres—from opera to mariachi.
Among the works spotlighted by the fast-rising Zhang, is the Kazakh folk song “A Lovely Rose.” Virtuoso musician Zhou Yi adapted the piece for voice and pipa—a traditional Chinese string instrument played by Yi.
The duet anticipated the collaboration of the two artists in Bright Sheng’s “Dream of the Red Chamber,” running June 14 through July 3, 2022 at the War Memorial Opera House. Zhang, making her company debut, plays the beloved character of Dai Yu in the opera based on one of China’s four great classical novels, while Yi joins the SFO Orchestra as qin soloist.
“In Song: Meigui Zhang” also presents “Villanelle” by Eva Dell’Acqua with text by Frédéric van der Elst; and “Das Veilchen” (“The Violet”) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, set to poetry by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Pianist Ken Noda accompanies the Zhang.
The 19-minute film, shot in New York and China, includes footage of Zhang reconnecting with family in her hometown of Chengdu.
After participating in the Merola Opera Program in 2018, Zhang was selected to join the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Development Program. She has since performed in several Met productions, including Verdi’s “Macbeth,” Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro,” and in the company’s new production of the French version of Verdi’s “Don Carlos.”
“In Song: Meigui Zhang” is free for viewing on the San Francisco Opera website, YouTube, YouTube (Mandarin subtitles), Facebook, and Instagram.