Stage director of the future: Mei Lin

MEI LIN is considered one of the most exciting young stage directors in China. In 2015, she came to Italy, the cradle of opera, to start her opera exploration journey. In 2018, she was awarded the Youth Opera Director Project of the National Arts Fund and started her career as a drama director. In 2019, she directed two versions of Piero Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana in Opera Festival Rivergaro and Opera Festival Semin ò di Ziano. In August of the same year, she directed Il Trovatore at the Giuseppe Verdi Teatro in Buseto. The show was a huge success and won the admiration of many audiences. In December 2020, she served as the Chinese executive director of Le Nozze di Figaro, a co-production of Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Kiel Opera in Germany. August 2022 she directed Puccini’s La Boheme at the Greek Theater of Taormina and in September, she had won the Lifetime Achievement Award of Opera in Roma.

Mei Lin, it’s such a pleasure to chat with you! How are you? What are the most recent highlights of your career and what’s coming next?

I just finished the production of La Boheme at Teatro Greco di Taormina. As an opera director, it’s a great honor to have the privilege of producing such a beautiful production with these wonderful colleagues, in this ancient Greek theater which is more than 2,000 years old. Recently, I was privileged to receive the Opera di Roma Career award for Opera directors in Rome, that was an honor and a new beginning for me. Then I’m going to China to begin the rehearsals for our production of Verdi’s La traviata, which will be performed at the end of December, as well as several new productions in schedule.

You grew up in a family of musicians. What’s your first memory of opera? What was your first impression about it and when did you decide to follow this path, becoming a stage director?

I was lucky to be born in a family of artists. My mother is an outstanding director, my father is a lighting designer. I can say that I spent most of my childhood in the theater. When I was about four or five years old, I found that with the changes of light and shadow, the plots and stories brought me stronger impacts. I may not have been able to grasp the deeper content at that time, but from then on, the stage had a great attraction for me. I started to learn piano at three. Like most professional piano players in China, I learned and received training with a lot of specialized courses and related courses, The process is extremely hard, but it help me to reserve a lot of rich and necessary professional skills. The first European opera I saw is Die lustige Witwe, at that time, my parents got the theatre production rights of the show. The wonderful music, well-made costume and makeup were so attractive. Once I had time, I’d like to see the rehearsals, the production of costumes and stage. Even the stage compositing made me excited and thrilled. I believe the seeds of opera have been rooted in my heart at that time. But at that time, I never thought that I would become an opera director in the future, still carried on my piano training step by step, to be an excellent pianist. On the way of music, my love for opera was growing. Ten years ago when I came to Italy, where is known as the “cradle” of opera. The first time I sat in the audience at La Scala. When the music started, I felt the calling. It was the beginning of a wonderful journey.

Read the entire interview here, in the 7th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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