He Hui trained vocally at the Conservatory in Xi'an under Professor Rao Yujian (饶余鋻). One of the winners (2nd place) of the Operalia Competition in 2000 and the Verdi Competition in Busseto Voci Verdiane in 2002 (1st place), she began as a mezzo-soprano and made her operatic debut in Shanghai, China in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte as Dorabella. Her first operatic acclaim in Europe came when performing the role of Cio Cio San in Puccini's Madama Butterfly. She was also chosen to sing Cio Cio San in the Italian production of Madama Butterfly which celebrated the centenary of the opera's first performance and which was seen throughout Italy.
She was the first Chinese soprano to assume the Verdian role of Aida, she debuted this role in Vienna (2008), New York (2010), and Chicago (2012). She has remained associated with this role and has recorded it twice on video. She is also known for singing the title role in Puccini's opera Tosca, which brought her her first major break through in European opera houses. Her operatic repertoire comprises some 12 Verdian soprano roles and 12 verismo operatic roles, 7 of which belong to Puccini. In 2013 the 200th year of Verdi's birth, she performed Verdi's Requiem at the Arena di Verona and Aida in La Scala. She also takes up the Elsa in Richard Wagner's Lohengrin in 2013. He Hui resides at Verona, Italy.
"The debut of Hui He in the role of Butterfly was sensational: she has convinced not only with her big voice, her wonderful technique and her marvellous timbre, but also she touched with a deep and emotional interpretation. The best Butterfly that you can wish. The standing ovation was really deserved!"
He's debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2006 under Edo de Waart as Cio Cio San received rapturous reviews from the press as well as a rousing standing ovation from the audience -
"The soprano He Hui follows the style of Renata Tebaldi in a smooth-flowing and incessant beautiful vocal out-pour...she sings as if she would never stop." That was He's first public performance in China after her win in Voci Verdiane Competition in 2002.
‘He Hui has a plush, vibrant voice with steely power when called for. Her singing combined musical refinement with impetuous temperament’.
Robert Turnball for the New York Times in 2010 wrote in respect of Chinese operatic singers –
‘Today all eyes are on He Hui, the Xian-born dramatic soprano who sang Tosca at La Scala in 2006 and who will sing Aida at the Met on March 26 and 31’.
Nancy Malitz wrote on March 9, 2012 of He Hui’s debut at Chicago's Lyric Opera as Aida –
'Although the evening marked Hui He’s debut at the Lyric, she has sung Aida in many international houses including the Metropolitan Opera. Her signature arias, “Ritorna vincitor!” and “O patria mia,” are very fine achievements, but it takes nothing away to argue that her responsiveness in this ensemble is electrifying*.
Connections in China
He Hui maintains a close relationship with Chinese classical music circles and performed at the National Opera House Beijing in Verdi's 'Un Ballo Di Maschera' in 2012.
In December 2013, a scheduled recital of Verdian opera excerpts at Xi'an had to be cancelled when the soprano reported a loss of voice after a heated row with the management of the performance venue over rehearsal arrangements.
In January 2015, she sang the title role of Aida under Zubin Mehta at the Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts.
- Hui He Sings Verdi & Puccini - Arias from Aida, Un Ballo in Maschera, Il Trovatore, Atilla, Manon Lescaut, Madam Butterfly, Tosca & Turandot. Oehms.
- Verdi: Aida - Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Zubin Mehta, Florence 2011
- Verdi: Aida - Arena di Verona, Daniel Oren, Verona 2012 - released on Opus Arte
- Madame Butterfly - The Trace of the Butterfly - Documentary including highlights from Puccini Festival performance in Torre del Lago.