In the lead-up to the performance of the opera Rita live at HKUST, the artistic team comes to discuss their approach to staging an opera in Hong Kong and reviving this forgotten Romantic classic. This rarely heard one-act opera by Gaetano Donizetti received its Asian premiere with the same artists in November and was featured on RTHK TV.
Rita is a delicious farce in the best traditions of Italian opera buffa. It was written at the end of Donizetti’s life while he was living in Paris. Donizetti’s music and Gustave Vaëz’s French libretto result is an Italian take on French opéra-comique with a story so familiar that it could be set anywhere — even Hong Kong!
THIS EVENT IS CURRENTLY ONLY OPEN TO HKUST STUDENTS AND STAFF. CHECK BACK LATER AS SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES CHANGE.
Marco Iannelli, Music adaptation and Direction
Peter Gordon, English dialogue and Stage Direction
Etta Fung, soprano
Chen Yong, tenor
Isaac Droscha, baritone
Marco Iannelli is an award-winning Italian composer, musicologist and educator living in Hong Kong. He has worked with Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Florence), the Opera Berlioz (Montpellier), and Deutsche Oper (Berlin). His compositions have been played around the world: Milan, Rome, Paris, San Francisco, the Athens Olympics and Hong Kong. He was most recently music director for the Italian Cultural Institute’s October 2019 production of Waitress on Top, a Hong Kong retelling of Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona.
Peter Gordon has been active in Hong Kong opera, drama and literary circles for two decades, including a previous Le French May outing in 2015. He wrote the dialogue and directed Waitress on Top, as well as two one-act operas, including Wolf-Ferrari’s Il Segreto di Susanna, at Macau’s Teatro Dom Pedro V. He has been named Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia for his work in local opera.
Etta Fung is one of Hong Kong’s leading coloratura sopranos. Known for her acting as well as her singing, she recently created the roles of Serpina in the Italian Cultural Institute’s production of Waitress on Top and of Keiko in the world premiere of Elena Langer’s Beauty and Sadness. She has sung widely in both Europe and the United States.
Chen Yong has performed leading roles including Roméo in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, Ernesto in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata, and Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème. He has performed with Opera Hong Kong, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Hong Kong Arts Festival as with Les Chorégies d’Orange and Opera Shanghai.
Isaac Droscha frequently performs leading baritone roles in Hong Kong, most recently Uberto in Waitress on Top, Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow, and Conte Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. He frequently performs in recital and teaches at HKUST.