L'invitation au voyage
Vocal recital by baritone Zhou Zhengzhong
Zhou Zhengzhong, baritone
Zhou Zhengzhong is a professional opera singer. He graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of professor Zhang Renqing, and teaches at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music. He is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the First Prize (Opera category) and Second Prize (French art songs category) at the International Opera Singing Competition of Marmande, and the Third Prize at the International Singing Competition of Toulouse. He was also awarded the scholarship from the Centre national d’insertion professionnelle d’artistes lyriques to undergo a two-year internship at Marseilles. Thereafter, he was admitted to the Royal Opera House under the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme before he joined the Deutsche Oper Berlin as an ensemble member.
Zhou Zhengzhong is highly active on the international opera stage, having performed at many leading theatres. He has collaborated with both Chinese and foreign renowned conductors such as Donald Runnicles, Andris Nelsons, Seiji Ozawa, Daniel Oren, Tang Muhai, Lü Jia and Lan Shui, and played the leading role in operas, including Rigoletto, Roméo et Juliette, Madama Butterfly, Salome, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Bohème, Faust and Le Nozze di Figaro. In addition, he has participated in the recording of Werther on Deutsche Grammophon and Le portrait de Manon by Opera Rara. He has also recorded Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole, Rigoletto, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly by Opus Arte Royal Opera House and so on.
In renowned classical music critic Hugh Canning’s commentary on Zhou’s performance in Faust, he characterised Zhou as the undisputed best interpreter of the character Valentin he has ever encountered, whether in terms of his image, voice, diction, language handling or musical performance. Other critics include Tim Smith from the British Magazine Opera, who described his interpretation of an earl to have led Le Nozze di Figaro toward a climax and enabled a tightly-knit performance. Chilean newspaper El Mercurio lauded him for his “melodious voice and convincing performance”. Famous tenor Carlo Bergonzi referred to Zhou Zhengzhong as the “Master of Verdi” after listening to his singing, while British conductor Sir Antonio Pappano characterised him as having an exquisite tonality and perfect cantabile.
Wen Ming, piano
Wen Ming, a young pianist, is piano artistic director at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music, and an executive director of the Piano Committee of the Hubei Culture and Art Exchange Committee. She studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, the National Conservatory of Music in Cannes, and the Wuhan Conservatory of Music. She received her double master's degree in piano performance, under the tutelage of Associate Professor Tian Yuan, Professor David Levy and Professor Dominique Cornil. During her study abroad, she minored in vocal music and harpsichord, and won the Belgian national scholarship continuously. She also graduated with the highest score for piano performance and chamber music.
She won third place in the Belgian International Youth Piano Competition, first place in the Blüthner International Piano Competition in Belgium, third in the solo group and first in the piano duo group of the Wiesbaden International Piano Competition in Germany, and third place in the Hong Kong Asian Youth Open Competition. She has performed in solo and chamber music concerts in the Grand Concert Hall in Brussels, Leipzig Youth Academy Concert Hall, Nice Acropolis Concert Hall, Gnesin Music Academy in Russia, Wuhan Concert Hall, and Changsha Concert Hall. She has played in concerts with the Royal Belgian Youth Symphony Orchestra, and was invited by the Belgian classical music station Musiq3 to record chamber music.
After she returned to China in 2015, besides her artistic directorship and teaching, she has participated in a series of full rehearsals of operas, such as Le Nozze di Figaro, L’Elisir d’Amore, La Bohème, Carmen, La Traviatta, Madama Butterfly, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia. She also served as a judge and piano accompanist at the Shanghai International Youth Piano Competition, Changsha International Piano Open Competition, Huanglong Music Season and other competitions.