Spotlight on Wei Wu, Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist
Bass Wei Wu tells us about his introduction to music and his favorite movie star. Read even more about him here.
Where were you born? Did you grow up in a musical household?
I was born in Beijing, China. Not really, But my whole family loves music. I remember when I was young, my grandfather listened to some jazz recordings and my dad listened to classical music which was really rare in my generation.
Is that where you consider “home” today?
Of course, even though I’ve been in America for 8 years now! I studied in Boulder, Colorado for 5 years (I loved the mountains and the beautiful surroundings), then I moved to D.C since I started the Domingo- Cafritz Young Artist Program with Washington National Opera. But China is always home- that never changes.
What was your first transformative musical experience? How old were you?
When I joined the Boys Choir in Beijing. I was 10 years old.
When did you first know you wanted to sing opera (become an opera coach/pianist)?
I sang in the choir until I was 14 years old. After my voice changed as a teenager, I took a year off singing and quit the choir. After a year, I became a young baritone voice and started taking my first formal voice lessons as a freshman in high school. I had no idea what opera was until I got to college. While training in college, I fell in love with the art form and enjoyed being on stage so much. I knew then that I wanted to be an opera singer.
Which university or conservatory did you attend?
I went to Remin University in Beijing for my undergraduate study of voice performance. Then I received a full scholarship to the College of Music at University of Colorado and there earned a Masters Degree of Voice Performance and the Artist Diploma of Solo Performance in Opera.
What is your favorite role that you have performed so far? What is your favorite opera? What is your dream role that you would like to perform in the future?
My favorite role that I’ve performed so far was Osmin in The abduction from the seraglio by Mozart with Glyndebourne Opera Festival in England. My favorite opera is Don Carlo by Verdi and my dream role is the King Phillip.
Do you have a favorite popular artist? How about movie?
My favorite popular artists are Morgan Freeman and Postmodern Jukebox. My favorite movie is Le Maître de Musique.
Do you have a pre-performance routine?
I only eat spaghetti with olive oil three hours before the show.
There are many skeptics that believe opera is a dying art form. Why do you think opera is still relevant today?
I believe opera is still the most powerful art form because it involves a combination of drama, music and singing with extremely high-level requirements. Opera singers require many years of training to be able to interpret the roles that they have to play well enough. Nothing else compares to opera.
Was the District different from what you expected when you moved here for the program?
It’s pretty much what I expected from a big city like this. I was born in Beijing which is quite similar to a city like D.C.- the life tempo is faster than the smaller size city for sure. However, I love the Smithsonian Museums. They are very unique treasures.
What do you like to do for fun around DC? Do you have any favorite hangout spots?
Trying different tasty foods everywhere.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I love jazz music. Although I am a Chinese singer, I know many Frank Sinatra love songs.
If you didn’t become an opera singer (coach/pianist), what other career would you have pursued?
I would like to be a journalist who works for the National Geographic Channel or maybe the host of a show on HGTV.
What has been your favorite/most memorable WNO/DCYAP moment?
My most memorable moment was when I was playing the role of The King in The Little Prince directed by our Artistic Director Francesca Zambello in 2015. She told the whole cast that I won the “Best Diction Award” and it really meant a lot to me as a non-native speaker who was cast in an American Opera with all native speakers.
My professional Facebook page can be found here.
My website can be found here.