Art Event Coverage Stories

Singing from China to Zurich

Interview with the amazing Opera singer Sen Guo.

There’s a lot to say about singing. It’s one of the highest forms of vibration and resonance that makes us create music. And the opera is the glorification of that gift, transforming those vibrations into a story that talks to us and makes us happy, sad, powerful and humble. In a dancing ritual, all the instruments converge to create art.

Thank god, I got a job at the Opernhaus of Zurich, working as an urban dancer in the modern «thrash» version of Hänsel und Gretel, composed by Engelbert Humperdinck and directed by Robert Carsen. There, I had the opportunity to meet the bling-bling Chinese star Sen Guo and make this interview. So let’s talk about Sen!

Sen was born in Shanxi, China. She studied at the Shanghai Conservatory and in the Zhou Xiao Yan Opera Center. In the 2001/02 season she was a member of the International Opera Studio in Zurich doing the «Pilgrims of the Mecca» production and since the 2002/03 season, she’s a permanent member of the ensemble of the Zurich Opera House.

1.) Roots: Where did you grow up and what brought you to Zürich?

Sen: I grew up in China and came to Zürich to join the Opernhaus for one year and after that, I became a soloist for 15 years or so.

2.) Backgrounds: What did you do before, and what are you doing now?

Sen: Before and now my life has been always related to singing. I studied Belcanto singing in Shanghai and after that, I did a Master Advanced Degree with the Professor László Polgár at the Zurich School of Music. Then the director of the Opernhaus found me in Japan and brought me to work in the Opera of Zurich where I’ve been singing as a soloist since 2002/03.

3.) Lifestyle: What do you miss the most here in Zürich? If you could bring something from China to add to your life here what it would be?

Sen: Zürich is a city not as big as London, Berlin, Paris or Rome, but you can find all the important elements from another city. From China, I would like to bring my family (laughs)! I mean, I can find everything I need here in this great city but nothing can replace the family.

4.) Hobbies: What do you like to do here in Zürich?

Sen: My hobby is to cook some Chinese food, chilling with my two cats and fitness (laughs). If I find somebody who can take care of my cats I go travel to know other cultures, other languages.

5.) Artistic Questions: What inspired you to become an opera singer? Is there a Chinese artist or any other artist in particular that you admire? And why?

Sen: I admire my father who is a Belcanto singer, and my mother is a Peking Opera singer so I had it in my genes right from the start, I guess that I had to be a singer too (laughs)! I’m joking, my two brothers are not singers.

The amazing Sen and I will perform in Hänsel und Gretel this Sunday 30th of December in the last show of this year. We will continue on the 18th, 20th and 27th of January, 17th of February, 24th of March and the 20th, 22th and 25th of April of 2019.

-Vida.

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