Making her Hong Kong debut this month is Chinese soprano Ying Fang, singing in Mahler’s Second Symphony with the HK Phil. Now based in the USA, Ying is a principal soprano of the Metropolitan Opera, and also travels frequently for concerts across the rest of America and beyond.

Ying is the only member of her family who is a musician, but remembers music always being present as a child. ‘My dad loves music and always had music playing in our home. I just loved listening to music and humming along when I was a kid,’ she explains.



Ying studied in Shanghai and then New York, and while still at school she looked to the generation above for inspiration: ‘I loved listening to singers like Sumi Jo, Barbara Bonney, and Cecilia Bartoli in high school. I enjoyed their singing and interpretation very much.’

Being inspired as a young musician is a very important part of the journey; as for today, who inspires her now? ‘Many people, but mostly my colleagues that I worked with who are just so wonderful to work with and at what they do,’ says Ying. ‘Every artist has their own sparkling spot that inspires me.’

Ying performed for the first time with the Met in 2013, and can still remember that moment to this day. It was ‘unreal’, she recalls. ‘I was very, very excited and I remember stepping out on that stage and gazing into that auditorium while singing, it was really special.’

Aside from her work at the Met, Ying travels frequently, something which brings with it its own set of challenges and rewards, and her visit to Hong Kong is no exception.

‘I have been to Hong Kong about 10 years ago, to a master class in which I met my voice teacher at Juilliard, so I have very fond memories of Hong Kong. But this will be the first time performing in Hong Kong for me. Mahler’s second symphony is a spiritual musical experience, in my opinion. Being present in that piece I always feel my soul and mind are lifted.’



And the practical aspect of travelling? ‘I try to look at the positive side: travelling to places that I have never been, to see the world, and to live in a new city like a local for a month or two and not have to jam your time into few days to experience that city like a tourist. And most importantly, doing what I love: singing!

‘But of course, travelling is really tiring – more so when you have to deal with jet lag and have to sing the next day after travelling, and be away from home. But you find a balance after a while.’

Outside of her busy schedule, Ying enjoys ‘sleeping, doing yoga, cooking, and just having some quiet and relaxing time sipping on my favourite freshly brewed teas.’ She is an equal fan of Gustav Mahler and Stan Getz – when not spending her time learning big operatic roles, Ying is a self-proclaimed fan of jazz and bossa nova.

Find details of her performances here.

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