Song Zuying is China’s leading female soprano.
Now 43, she was born in Hunan and is ethnically Miao, one of China’s official minority peoples. According to folklore (and her publicist, no doubt) a young Song would serenade the mountain passes on her long walk to primary school each day, pausing to hear the echo bounce back across the valley.
What is she famous for?
A series of recitals overseas, including the Sydney Opera House and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She also sang with Spanish tenor Placido Domingo at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, and was nominated for the Best Classical Crossover Album at the 49th US Grammy Awards.
Somewhat improbably, Song is also a Rear Admiral in the Chinese navy (although a ‘non-combatant’ one, the state media is keen to make clear). She’s worked her way up the ranks since joining the navy’s Song and Dance Troupe in 1991.
Why is she in the news?
Song has just released her latest DVD, including her headline act in the “Charm of China” shows in the Bird’s Nest stadium last year.
But netizens aren’t too impressed by the album’s promotional photos of Song in figure-hugging outfits. They worry that it is all a bit out of keeping with her ambassadorial role for Chinese music overseas (and perhaps not wholly appropriate for a Rear Admiral, either?)
Song’s record company are reported to be having a rethink…
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