What can one learn from the covers of an opera magazine? That opera is still an art genre about “dead white European”? It’s the conclusion one easily surmises from the covers of Opera (China). Out of the 11 cover figures of Opera in 2014, five were dead when on the cover. Among them three Europeans: Gerard Mortier, Claudio Abbado and Carlo Bergonzi, one American Lorin Maazel and one Chinese Hu Shiping. The average age for the rest living ones is an astounding 70.
Opera is a monthly journal published by the Shanghai Opera House and just celebrated its 30th anniversary this month. The head of Shanghai Opera House, also the publisher of the magazine is Weisong, a renowned tenor. Mr Wei appeared on the cover twice, once in January and once in June.
The cover figures were predominantly male. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa seemed the only cover lady. Cover stories were chosen carefully to keep a delicate balance between Chinese and foreign origin. Out of the 12 covers, half were taken from China and another half from abroad.