Pomme d’api: A French Comic Operetta

Date: May 3, 2022 (Tuesday)
Time: 7:30 PM
Venue: Shaw Auditorium

[Event postponed due to Covid-19.]

Three of Hong Kong’s most prominent operatic vocal talents and six of its outstanding instrumentalists will present a full-length performance of the rarely-heard one-act operetta by Jacques Offenbach, the timeless comedy Pomme d'api. Presented in collaboration with The French May of Hong Kong, this sixty-minute opera will bring a rare French treat to the Cosmopolis Festival.


Pomme d’api

Music: Jacques Offenbach
Libretto: Ludovic Halévy and William Busnach

Music adaptation: Marco Iannelli
English dialogue: Peter Gordon
Director: Peter Gordon
Music Director: Marco Iannelli
Producer: Lorna Chan, Let Me Plan It Co.
Custom Artwork: Adolfo Arranz

Soprano: Etta Fung
Tenor: Chen Yong
Baritone: Isaac Droscha



An aging bachelor and sewing-machine manufacturer named Rabastens fires his maid, while waiting for a visit from his nephew,  Gustave, he himself having just fallen for a girl called Pomme d'api. Uncle Ravstens disapproves of the young women and has cut off Gustave’s allowance, but Gustave arrives, he reveals that he has dumped Pomme d'api in order to keep the money. Going to his room, the new maid, Catherine, arrives, and Rabastens is so happy and enchanted with his servant he invites her to dinner. At dinner Gustave recognizes Catherine as his love, Pomme d’api, whom he still loves, but she is still bitter over being cast aside. To test Gustave, Catherine flirts with Rabastens and tells him that she has been abandoned by her lover and that she will say yes to the first man to propose. Gustave is so hurt that he starts to leave, only to for Catherine see his devotion and embrace him. After a moment of anger, Rabastens gives his blessing to Gustave's marriage, and increases his allowance.



Coloratura soprano Etta Fung is known for her "charm and verve" (Opera Today) and powerful stage presence. Etta made her European debut as Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel) at the Neue Eutiner Festspiele (2011) in Eutin, Germany and received critical acclaim in the Hamburger Abendblatt: "(Fung) acted with great enthusiasm, her powerful soprano voice underscoring the Wagnerian sounds of the score". Since then Etta has performed actively in Europe. She appeared as Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro) in the Trentino Music Festival at Mezzano, Italy; and La Fée (Cendrillon) and die Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte) in the Siena Music Festival.


Etta made her American debut as Peep-Bo (Mikado) during her Apprenticeship with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City (2012-2013). Other roles she has performed in the United States include Musetta (La Bohème), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Lucia (Rape of Lucretia), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel), Atalanta (Serse) and Anne Trulove (The Rake's Progress) and the cover of Adele (Die Fledermaus) at Martina Arroyo's Prelude to Performance. Upon her return to Hong Kong, Etta has been cast as Aninna (La Traviata),  Musetta (La Boheme), Serpina (La Serva Padrona), Susanna (Il Segreto di Susanna) and Zerlina (Don Giovanni). She is best known for her portrayal of the Queen of the Night (Magic Flute) with Opera Hong Kong in 2018.


Etta is the creator of Opera Sull’Aria - aerial opera: an act in which she performs coloratura arias in the air combined with aerial silks. Being the only opera singer/aerialists in Asia, Etta was invited to perform the role of L'Amour on aerial silks in Gluck's Orphée in 2018 at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada.


Etta works closely with contemporary composers and regular makes world premieres of various vocal works. She created the role of Keiko in British-Russian composer Elena Langer's new opera Beauty and Sadness, working with renowned Oscar-winning designer Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and award-winning director Carolyn Choa. Etta sings regularly for the Asian Young Musician's Connection, premiering new vocal works such as "the Lotus Script -- a chamber opera" and "Bent Shadow -- Story of Hong Kong". She recently starred in the historical production of Rita-- an Opera Movie (Donizetti), filmed at the historical site of the Haw Par Mansion in Hong Kong. The movie was released on RTHK31 on Jan 31, 2021.


Etta was a winner of the Metropolitan Opera District Auditions (Kansas City) as well as the winner of the Vocal Division of the Naftzger Competition (Wichita, Kansas). She is the receiver of the Anton Rubinstein International Vocal Competition Award for best interpretation of chamber music in Düsseldorf, Germany.


After completing her Doctoral Degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Kansas, Etta was invited to make an appearance in American reality TV show The Little Couple as a musician in their Season 8 Finale in Houston, Texas; and act as guest judge in musical talent in the 46th Annual Miss Chinatown Houston Scholarship Pageant.


Tenor Chen Yong is the most notable lyrical tenor in Hong Kong classical music scene, well-known by his excellent performances in operas and concerts. Mr. CHEN has performed over 30 operatic roles. Leading roles including Roméo in Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette”, Ferrando in Mozart’s “Cosìfan tutte”, Ernesto in Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale”, Tonio in “La Fille du Régiment”, Nemorino in “L’Elisir d’Amore”, Alfredo in Verdi’s “La Traviata”, Rinuccio in Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi”, Rudolfo in Puccini’s “La Bohème”, Tebaldo in Bellini’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi”, Almaviva in Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” etc. Tenor solo in concerts including Handel’s Messiah, G. Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. He has performed with Les Chorégies d'Orange, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Shanghai, Opera Hong Kong, Le French May Arts Festival, ItaliaMia Arts Festival, Beijing International Comic Opera Festival, l'Opéra de Poche and City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong etc. Chen Yong graduated from the Vocal Department of Universität für Musik und Darstellender Kunst Wien in Austria with full scholarship after obtaining a Master Degree in Performance from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

Isaac Droscha, operatic bass-baritone, holds a Doctorate in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan and is currently a faculty in the Division of Humanities at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Isaac is also the artistic director and vocal coach of the HKUST Musical, which he also helps coordinate.


He has performed a number of roles with various companies in the United States, including the Des Moines Metro Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera New Jersey, and Arbor Opera Theater. His performances have received numerous positive reviews, including: “Isaac Droscha is ingenious in his portraying of Falstaff;” and “Isaac Droscha, in the same role, was blessed with an extremely robust and agile voice, and behaved onstage like a true commedia dell’arte clown” and “Droscha really hit his stride when revealing his character's true identity near the end of the opera in a riveting performance.”


Some of his notable roles performed include roles in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Le Nozze di Figaro, The Rake’s Progress, Madama Butterfly, L’Elisir d’Amore, Die Zauberflöte, Die Fledermaus, Falstaff, and Airadne auf Naxos. He was also recently featured in two films produced by RTHK based on the operas La Serva Padrona and Rita. He is frequently collaborator with Hong Kong Musica Viva.


He is a prolific concert performer of oratorio and art song and frequently lends his vocal talents to radio and television at RTHK. He is the co-artistic director of the Cosmopolis Festival at HKUST.

Date: May 3, 2022 (Tuesday)
Time: 7:30 PM
Venue: Shaw Auditorium