Padova Summer Stories
Author:Office of International Affairs            Date:2016-12-21            Browse:1307

During the past two years, I always hoped to have another chance to visit the legendary Italy, to understand it better. When I finally arrived in Venice this summer and saw the majestic San Marco Basilica and the impressive Doge's Palace, together with the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea, I felt as if I was in an everlasting dream...

The night in Venice

The most unforgettable moment of this trip was the opera at Verona. It was such great honour to have the opportunity to attend the opera, together with Professor Ernesto Carafoli, President Jiang and other respected fellows from both University of Padova and ShanghaiTech.

The opera was Turandot, one of the greatest masterpieces of Puccini, and his final opera: an epic fairy tale set in a China of legend.

The ticket for the opera

It was performed at Arena di Verona, a true legacy from the Roman Empire, with very romantic streets and the surrounding buildings where the love story between Romeo and Juliet had taken place.

The outer walls of Arena di Verona. Can you see the Roman numerals on the stone? They mean "Gate 66"!

At the beginning of the opera, I joined the silent tribute for the people who suffered the latest earthquake in the center of Italy. Countless candles were lit by the audience creating an astonishing scene.

The silent tribute

It’s doubtless that the opera had become one of the unforgettable moments during my summer experience in Italy. 

From the Chinese words of the dialogue among the three ministersPing, Pang, and Pong, to the Forbidden City, chiefly reconstructed in the astonishing scenery by famous Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, and the well-designed Chinese style costumes by the awarded designer Emy Wada, I saw a perfect combination of eastern and western culture.

The Forbidden City

From the variations of the famous traditional Chinese song “Jasmine,” to the stirring voice that came out from the actor playing Calaf as he sang “None Shall Sleep,” I heard the top-level music in the world, just the same as what Luciano Pavarotti could perform.

The conductor of the opera

From the wisdom and fearlessness of Prince Calaf during his solving of the “Three Riddles,” to the very climax when Turandot was taken aback by the heroic sacrifice of Liu, and Calaf finally melted her frozen soul with his scorching kiss, I experienced the overwhelming power of love that Puccini had wanted to communicate.

Prince Calaf and Princess Turandot

Walking through the splendid city center of Verona after the opera, I felt I was just like the luckiest people born in Renaissance or the time of Roman Empire. After all, what’s better than the gratification produced by art and culture?

The night of Verona

                                                            ---By Hu Haimin, School of Information Science and Technology