Chinese tenor hits 9 top Cs – twice

Chinese tenor hits 9 top Cs – twice

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

November 27, 2022

Watch from 5:50.

The audience go wild, so Yijie Shi gives them again as an encore.

From Donizetti’s La fille du régiment in Beijing.

This is the one to beat.



  • Couperin says:

    It seems like every tenor who does this gets their encore and does it again and blah blah blah. NYTimes went ape over a guy who did it at the Met few years ago. Who cares anymore?

    • Emil says:

      Florez at the Met was noticeable because it was a change of policy at the Met – which banned encores until then. But indeed, not every encore is worth a mention. Eyvazov repeated Nessun Dorma in Verona this summer (because why not, I guess), and frankly I could have done without!

  • Singeril says:

    Impressive…but not unique. As I remember it, Juan Diego Flores gave encores of the aria multiple times at The Met a few years back.

    • Hugo Preuß says:

      Yeah, correct. But to be compared to and basically put on a level with Florez and Pavarotti is not the worst thing that could happen to a tenor…

  • sammy says:

    Bullshit. This is dubbed from another sound track.

    • Nicholas says:

      Could it be just a poor job of synchronizing the live audio with the same live performance on stage, or truly from another soundtrack? Still an impressive feat, vocally.

      • David K. Nelson says:

        It also seemed that visually the chorus was similarly out of synch. This does not rule out dubbing I suppose but I’m inclined to take it on face value. Impressive. The costuming, not so much.

        • Dr William A Evans says:

          Perhaps all singers should resort to wearing high-necked woollen pullovers to keep their throats warm?!! (Joke!)

          • Jay says:

            Yes I have to say the whole time I was watching – and very much enjoying – I kept thinking that either the A/C is cranked down to freezing, or all those guys are going to need to be treated for heat exhaustion when they exit the stage. Costumers can be very impractical.

    • Anonymous Bosch says:

      He doesn’t even appear to be singing in French!

      • Sonicsinfonia says:

        Maybe not, but then neither did Pavarotti (in this role) nor Corelli (in any of his!)…

        • Anonymous Bosch says:

          Corelli sang Werther and Gounod’s Roméo in French. Oh and Don José. Do some research!

          • justsaying says:

            the guy in the video is also “singing in French.” The original post was meant as a comment on what passes for “French” in opera-world.

          • Jay says:

            I think maybe you missed the point. Growing up in my family we had a practice of raising our hand if we were being sarcastic. Anonymous would have had his hand raised when he made that comment, lol.

        • Anonymous Bosch says:

          Pavarotti did indeed sing Tonio in French (live and on the Decca recording).

        • Charles says:

          Corelli could Never sing this role in a million years

    • sammy says:

      Here’s the unenhanced recording of that performance, representing more truly and accurately the quality of his voice (and the chorus and the orchestra and the acoustics of the hall!)

    • Nick2 says:

      Clearly out of touch Sammy is unaware that YouTube videos are frequently slightly out of sync. To make his comment without checking is disgraceful. If he’d just bothered to look at Yijie Shi’s’ impressive biography with performances around the world, he’d not have made such a stupid comment.

  • says:

    Nice If you can do it, it’s as fantastically natural as anything else. Amazing. Not many can that’s why they get paid lots of tenors

  • Ernest says:

    Shi is a very fine tenor specialising in bel canto. He is a favourite in the Rossini Festival in Pesaro and also in the Italian opera houses!

  • ER says:

    Pavarotti’s tempo seems much faster. “Elle m’aime! Elle m’aime.”
    Seeing the video from China provokes wanderlust! The aria: full dedication of body, soul and mind…the struggle for breath just after!! No artist should have to repeat an aria! We are not at the Colosseum. Kudos. A fine
    voice, a touch from the world beyond our doors. Grazie.

  • Karen L Geisendaffer says:

    On please Pavarotti was better and Caruso was the best

  • Petros Linardos says:

    To my uneducated (on singing) ears, Yijie Shi of 2019 may have nailed the high c’s as well or better than Pavarotti of 1972, and may have sung wonderfully overall. And yet, beyond those damn C’s, when I hear Pavarotti in his prime and his best suited roles, arguably including Tonio, I hear a uniquely beautiful timbre and natural phrasing that justified Pavarotti’s rise to superstardom. Comparisons to the best of Pavarotti are unfair. Vocal experts: please weigh in.

  • Berend says:

    Last month, after getting last minute tickets in La Fenice during a study trip, we heard John Osborn giving it twice, even embellishing the long C’s to C-D-B-C… It was a true spectacle, crowd went crazy and I’ve had the aria stuck in my head ever since… Despite being a bass baritone, I can’t help giving it a try from time to time (having loads of fun while failing miserably of course).

  • M.Arnold says:

    I recently heard Shi for the first time in 2 live performances from China, broadcast on radio in NYC- Ernesto in Don Pasquale and Fenton in Falstaff and was very impressed. He was terrific with a bright, unforced and beautiful voice. I also, was at Pavarotti’s opening night La Fille who, of course, tore the house down. Sadly, I,also, attended his last attempt to sing the role and when he got to the C’s, he transposed them all the way down into the baritone range then walked off stage and was replaced for the rest of the opera by his cover. A very sad end to a great voice.

    • A Pianist says:

      I was at that show too. A night to remember. Pav at his lowest but he still had enough vocal force to drown out the rest of the cast.

  • A Pianist says:

    Sharp on top for that last one. Well, better than being flat.

    • Jay says:

      True. Let’s call it eight high Cs and one high ‘C-plus.’ Interesting that on the ‘bis’ he holds the pitch steadier, but it still creeps toward the end.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    Somehow it is still a science fiction dream for audio and video to be in synch on the internet.

    Someday it will come to pass, perhaps in the year… 2000.

  • Bedrich Sourcream says:

    It’s not a remarkable achievement if the notes lie in his range. And if they didn’t, he wouldn’t be able to sing them over and over again. What matters is if they are musical and artistic.