Finnish citizen known as China’s Philomela to woo home audience with Shanghai concert

Photo: Ti Gong

Yunus Dilber is presenting a concert at Shanghai Oriental Art Center on 29 May where she will be demonstrating both Western opera and Chinese art songs.

After she finished her master’s degree from the Department of Vocal Music and Opera at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music, the singer won recognition on international stages, and in an interview with Chinese media Shine, she says that she hopes to perform in front of her home country audiences more often.

Yunus Dilber is an Uyghur lyric soprano with a coloratura technique. She was born and raised in Kashgar, Xinjiang Region, and has been with the Finnish National Opera company and Malmo Opera in Sweden. She is now a Finnish citizen and professor of the Central Conservatory of Music.

Yunus Dilber has been called the “Philomela of China,” in reference to the Athenian King Pandion I’s daughter, who, according to legend, turned into a nightingale. She has been praised for restraint in her use of ornamentation and vocal balance and in her to Shine she explains that her confidence has come over time. “Coming to this age, my growing experience and all the collections in life can help in my singing. “Time and experience can erase the anxiety I used to have. Now I’m fully confident in handling details, and that’s what the finest art is about,” she says.

Yunus Dilber says that she doesn’t like to show off skills and that using skills requires thoughtfulness. “Loyalty to the original work is the priority while skills are decoration. Otherwise, the skills will ruin the work,” she says.

The first half of the concert at Shanghai Oriental Art Center will feature Western programs, including Jean Sibelius’ “Finlandia,” Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” and “Seligkeit” and in the second half, Yunus Dilber will lead audiences into a musical world of Chinese poetry.

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