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Liao Changyong (31 Jul 2004)


In November 2000, at the invitation of Director of Music Placido Domingo, Changyong Liao, who received his music education at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in eastern China, played Count di Luna in a performance of the Italian opera Il Trovatore at Washington Opera. The show, directed by Domingo, had top musicians around the world in the audience. Liao's performance was highly acclaimed. As the Washington Post remarked, Liao was the top winner of this show. ‘ Liao inhabited the role like a born Verdi singer, with dark-hued baritone, vibrant high notes, idiomatic Italian and a command of the long line, ’ it wrote. Particularly, his standard Italian accent won him high praise from Americans. Liao came from an impoverished village in Sichuan. His first contact with music came at a time when Chinese music was ruined by political zeal. He could only get access to revolutionary songs. In the 80s, Liao followed the fashion and became a pop music fans. One day, he listened to a radio programme and was obsessed with a segment of an opera sung by Domingo. He was so impressed that he switched to classical music. When he was at 19, he entered the Shanghai Conservatory of Music as the top performer in his native Sichuan province. In spite of his outstanding accomplishment at home, Liao's mediocre performance disappointed many. His teacher ordered him to refrain from singing sensational songs. The blow was so heavy that he had thought of giving up altogether. However, he managed to win at Operalia held in Tokyo and Queen Sonya International Music Competition held in Norway later. He even secretly practised his skills of singing sensational notes. Liao makes Chopin as his most admired musician, because he was a patriotic pianist who loved his country strongly. Liao always performs outside his own country. While it is certainly difficult for a Chinese-speaking man to act in a Western opera, Liao believes that the problem can be overcome by careful observation and hardworking. Liao believes that his family is very important to him. ‘ If there is no tomorrow, it will choose my family from a choice of my family and my music career, ’ he said. Liao is a lecturer at his alma mater Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He is keen at passing on his knowledge of music to the next generation. He believes it is important to train both the performers and the audience, for only listeners of high appreciation level will demand music of high quality. This will help promote Chinese music to the rest of the world.

Young Chinese Musicians
Publish Date: 
Saturday, July 31, 2004
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