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An interview with Kang Wang

An interview with Kang Wang

Kang Wang makes his solo recital debut with Opera Queensland this month in Secret – A Love that Never Was. We spoke to Kang for an insight into the recital’s program and his impressive career to date.

17th February, 2021

What can audiences expect to hear and feel from your upcoming performance with Opera Queensland?

The audience can expect to hear some beautiful songs and arias from works by Tosti, Donaudy, Pietri, Chopin and Liszt to name a few, which I’ve chosen for this specific theme of love. Audiences will resonate with what we’re trying to convey through the music, based on their own life experiences. And there may be a few surprises too.

This recital is your recital marks your solo debut with the company – how did the collaboration come about?

Covid-19 obliterated 18 months of my contracts and Brisbane is the best place to be in the world during this pandemic. Mr Nolan (Patrick Nolan, Opera Queensland Artistic Director and CEO), and I became good friends working together in a few projects since I came back to Brisbane in June. This recital is the latest of our collaborations. John Woods has been my coach for 11 years, so the collaboration with John and Opera Queensland happened very naturally.

Your recital, Secret, charts a linear journey of unrequited love. How did you and John choose the pieces to illustrate this journey?

I’m sure everyone has stories in their life, that they would like to share with the world but not necessarily through spoken or written words, which is why we have art. This is what I’m trying to illustrate here too, through music, a love story that is buried so deep in your mind, that brings smiles and tears at the same time whenever you recall it. Eventually you realise that everything and everyone changes, but the memories that you shared together would be cherished forever.

You have sung on stages around the world including at the Kennedy Center, the Grand Hall of Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia and at the Musique et vin au Clos Vougeot festival in France. How do you draw on this mainstage experience for a concert recital?

Something that doesn’t really change whether I am singing on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera or in a restaurant for a few close friends – I always try to tell a story, whether based on my own life experience, or a fictional one that I just dreamed about or read about. I think that is one of the most important things for singing; telling a story can bring focus and tranquillity to my mind, which are two key factors for high level performances in any field.

Do you have a favourite composer or genre you like to perform and why?

My favourite genre would be the Verismo operas such as Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana, Andrea Chénier for example, which I hope to perform in 20 years when I’ve really earned enough experience on stage as an opera singer. Yes, it takes decades for a tenor to earn enough experience for heavy repertoire! I love them because of the sheer amount of emotion they carry for singers and the emotional impact they can bring to the audience through the music. Also because they are my earliest memories of operatic music, the first tune I remember was the aria “Vesti la giubba” from Pagliacci, when I was still attending the primary school, listening to a recording my father was playing at home.

Kang Wang and John Woods present Secret – A Love that Never Was as part of the 2021 Opera Queensland Studio Series. Limited tickets remaining for the two performances 26 & 27 Feb, 2021.

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