We Go to a Land Down Under!

Hao in fine form, champers in hand!

Hao entertains a close circle of friends in Kiev, champers in hand!

We prepare to leave the freeze of China and Eastern Europe and cross the planet to meet again in the sunburnt country we love: Australia!  There we’ll bask in the heat of a summer in February and the warmth of the Australian people!

So, right now, we’re working on a new show, new music, solos, and ensemble pieces, even new costumes.  I’m pushing Hao to include some acrobatics—at least one backflip!—in our shows.   (That is, I’ll hold his champagne flute for him while he’s doing the tumbling.)

Design of performance costumes for The 3 Chinese Tenors

New design for performance costumes for The 3 Chinese Tenors

There has already been a little bit of a warm-up by virtue of a small concert we performed just last week in Kiev, Ukraine.  Hao took a trip from his hometown, the capital of Hunan, and flew through Beijing and Moscow to Kiev, where I, vodka and girls in fur coats were waiting to welcome him.  We (Hao and I, that is, not the girls in fur coats) performed a small concert to raise awareness for a local, charitable project that makes resources and skills available to orphan teens who wish to acquire new job and life skills1 but are at risk of falling out the other end on the wrong side of the social welfare system and into lives of scant hope, security or prospects.  In a cosy little Mexican restaurant in a historic district of Kiev, we gave our vocal chords a thorough working out, keeping them lubricated with several bottles of champagne.  Afterwards, we partied till morning in a Ukrainian nightclub.  Yep, from a physical standpoint, we’re ready for Australia!

As I mentioned, however, it’s a new show we’re bringing with us and that means new development of several other key performance aspects.  For one, the program will continue to broaden out from the purist (or, as Hao puts in his inimitable way: “I am looking for to stay away with the boring classical concert box”) operatic recital format but will instead interweave pure opera and operetta with Broadway, Chinese and Neapolitan folk songs, even some pop—and more of the comedy and story-telling.

Alternative costume design for The 3 Chinese Tenors

A more elaborate 3 Chinese Tenors costume

Meanwhile, a leading designer in China is working on new costumes for us.  Original and tailor-made for The 3 Chinese Tenors, thematically connected to centuries-old performance traditions, they will be designed to be eye-catching and visually arresting.  Hao wants to give a whole new look to The 3 Chinese Tenors.

The Australian tour will include some of the most beautiful places the country has to offer.

The Reef Hotel Casino is regarded as Australia’s finest boutique casino.  Situated in Cairns, a popular destination for tourists wishing to explore The Great Barrier Reef, it is also the only casino in Far North Queensland.

Araluen Arts Centre is located near Uluru, otherwise known as Ayers Rock, a huge rock that juts up 350 metres above the surrounding desert, it changes color throughout the day, and is one of Australia’s most recognisable natural landmarks.

Other performance venues include the Matt Dann Cultural Centre in Port Hedland, the Carnarvon Civic Theatre, and Queens Park Theatre in Geraldton.

All in all, for anyone familiar with how big Australia is (for example, Western Australia is ten times larger than Texas) would know, we will be covering huge distances—but we count ourselves blessed to be able to do so.

“I said to the man, ‘Are you trying to tempt me, Because I come from the land of plenty?'”  Yes! We go to a land down under!

1. You can read more about the Svitlyachok Project here and the good work that my friends in the project are doing.


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