Father, daughter charm Carnegie Hall with song
Dai Yuqiang’s sonorous voice resonated off of every wall in the music hall, winning the audience’s applause and cheers. It was the voice that moved Luciano Pavarotti to take him as his first and only Chinese student.
But standing on the Carnegie Hall stage on the evening of Sept 30, Dai bore a title more important than the most famous tenor from China: He was co-performer with his 20-year old daughter, soprano Dai Ziyi, a student majoring in voice at the Manhattan School of Music.
“She’s better than me,” Dai told China Daily before the concert. “I hope people get to know to her by coming to hear me sing.”
“It’s important for a young performer to experience the stage, to have people like her and support her,” he said. “That will be a huge encouragement for her and she will work harder.”
“I got very nervous when my father first told me about this concert,” she said. “It’s going to be my first concert in the US, and it’s at Carnegie Hall.”
Any jitters seemed to vanish once she started to sing. It was apparent that she had inherited not only her father’s talent, but also his charisma and charm, which won her just as many cheers as her father got.
The two took turns singing Chinese songs and selections from operas and the concert reached its high point when they performed together I Love You, My Chinese Homeland on the eve of the Chinese National Day for the Chinese in the audience so far from home.
Dai Ziyi, who has trained in voice since she was 9 years old, hopes to be an opera singer like her father. After graduating from the prestigious middle school affiliated with the China Conservatory of Music in 2014, she continued her studies in the US.
“My biggest weakness is that my English is ‘little’, and my Italian is only ‘ poco poco’,” said the older Dai in Chinese. “I hope she can not only speak fluent Mandarin, but also English, and maybe even Italian and French. That will make her a true opera singer.”
Like other US colleges, music schools are also seeing a rise in Chinese students. Pang Xuan, the executive producer of the concert and also a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, is optimistic about the trend.
“We are pushing for cultural exchange between East and West,” said Pang, who brought regional Chinese folk songs to the Carnegie stage in a concert last October.
“I’m sure there will be more Chinese musicians appearing at Carnegie Hall and more Chinese works performed here — works that represent our culture,” Pang said.
Famous tenor Dai Yuqiang and his daughter, soprano Dai Ziyi, took the stage at the New York's Carnegie Hall on Sept 30.