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Sporting past gives tenor a head start

By Chen Nan | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-09-18 08:15
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Tenor Han Peng plays Xiangzi, the leading role in the Chinese opera Rickshaw Boy, based on the classic novel of the same title by Lao She (1899-1966) produced by the NCPA in 2014.

Discipline and talent combine onstage for a pulsating performance, Chen Nan reports.

Han Peng was born and raised in a small village in Zhangqiu district in Jinan, East China's Shandong province. His family made a living by farming.

Tall and strong, Han was trained to become a field athlete and competed since childhood in the javelin.

"My life was all about competing and throwing the javelin. I got up before 5 am and started my day by running 10 laps around the school playground," recalls Han, who was listed as a national-level athlete.

When he was 17, Han volunteered to sing a song during the school's year-end gala. His voice not only amazed his classmates and teachers but also himself.

"I loved singing but I never had a chance to sing in front of so many people, who gave me great applause. I didn't know I could sing and sing well," says Han. "One of my teachers joked that, 'Han Peng should become a singer', and I took the joke seriously. I really enjoyed the feeling of performing onstage. And this small voice came in me and said, 'be a singer'."

However, it seemed to be an impossible dream.

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