Students and professors of the GIPAC Academy (Global Intercultural Preformimg Arts Cast), which is based in Boston, and has a diverse network of schools in Asia, America and Europe, performed at this year’s KotorArt, on Friday, July 20th, at the Church of the Holy Spirit. In addition to opera singers – Wanzhe Zhang, Secretary-General and Voice Teacher at the Boston Chinese Musicians Association, and President of the GIPAC Academy, and soprano Zhang Zhang, lecturer at the Voice and Opera Department at the China’s Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, there performed Quan Yuan, violinist at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Montclair Symphony Orchestra. Furthermore, a young Academy student Shixing Yu, received the opportunity to make a debut on the Festival stage. The accompanist was Serbian pianist Tea Andrejić.

If there had been broadcasted a film reduced in its sound, the atmosphere in the Church of the Holy Spirit would have been completely understandable: the artists took turns on the stage and with their positivity gave the impression of something that was definitely a “good job”. So, the opera divas in the flamboyant dresses took turns and also performed in a duet. The young pianist appeared between the music numbers as in a real instrumental intermezzo, and according to the movement of his fingers, from afar, the impression of brilliance was achieved. The violinist sometimes seemed serious, while playing with the accompanist, and sometimes amiable, while contributing to the atmosphere of vocal pieces. And finally, as in a brilliant finale of some great opera – “syncretism” of singing, playing, dancing and toast.

Since, after all, it was the sound the atmosphere was defined by, it becomes questionable what drove the audience to the unreserved delight, cheers of approval and exploding applauses. To make things clear, the violinist Quan Yuan, who works in the Metropolitan Orchestra, was at his best  during his performance of the Tian Shan Mountain Suite by Chinese composer Yilin Sun, whose folk tunes show the existence of historically deeply rooted cultural connections between distant nations. Also, it was interesting to listen to the songs of Wu Lang Tuo Ga and Tzu Huang. When it comes to singing, soprano Zhang Zhang stood out with her coloraturas, while the young pianist, in the bouts of virtuosity, had a lot of problems in reading and presenting the music score. From the average music interpretation, the audience, however, drew something completely different, advocating the values of the traditional opera, comprised in the aria itself and the primadonna cult. This is also evidenced by the “syncretic” ending of this musical event, the interpretation of the most famous brindisi (toast) in the history of the opera, from Verdi’s La Traviata, in an unusual setting, with two sopranos, instead of a tenore and soprano.

On the whole, the repertoire, with a noteworthy introduction to the music of Chinese authors, was based on musical forms and styles not very skillfully put together, from operatic arias and folk songs to sonatas, etudes and arrangements.
Since not every music is art, the audience, as well, is not always the relevant “filter” of interpretation. That is why, among other things, there is a music critique. Still, the audience whose excitement is primarily provoked by coloraturas and loud, long tones in high registers would have been desired by any Venetian or Naples theater – of the Baroque era.