The Chinese soprano Huang Ying has become an international superstar on the concert stage and recording scene. She is a 1992 graduate of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the country's leading Western-style school of music education. Immediately afterwards, she entered the Nineteenth Concours International de Chant in Paris, where she won second prize. She was described as the top singer of the People's Republic of China in September 1993 and began to appear regularly with the Shanghai Philharmonic, performing in operas. She also toured North Korea and Taiwan.
She won the title role in Frédéric Mitterand's film of Giacomo Puccini's opera, Madame Butterfly; her on-screen performance was highly praised, and her vocal portrayal was the heart of a best-selling and critically praised release of the new recording of the opera, conducted by James Conlon, on the Sony Classics label. As a result, Sony signed her to an exclusive contract. At about the time the film appeared, she made her European concert debut in March 1995, in Poulenc's Stabat Mater in Cologne, with Conlon conducting the Gürzenich Orchestra. In May of the same year, she gave her first American performance at the May Festival in Cincinnati in the same work and in Orff's Carmina Burana. The May Festival invited her back for their 1996 season, following which she debuted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Mahler's Eighth Symphony, with Christoph Eschenbach conducting. At the end of that year, she performed a Christmas in Vienna television concert, with Plácido Domingo and Michael Bolton, which became a successful CD and video release worldwide on the Sony labels in 1997. Also in 1996, she debuted with the Festival de Lanaudiere in Canada with Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony, and with the Festival de St. Florent le Vieil and the Festival Musiques au Coeur, both in France.
Huang's stage debut in opera was as Nannetta, in Verdi's Falstaff, with the Cologne Opera in the 1996 - 1997 season. Following their success with Mahler in Chicago, Maestro Eschenbach invited her to perform in the opening concert of the 1997 - 1998 season with his Houston Symphony Orchestra in Mahler's Second Symphony. During the same season, she joined the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center on a national tour of the United States, which allowed her to see several different localities in that country, including New York, Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Oregon. Meanwhile, her recording career continued to grow. Her first solo recording, conducted by Conlon, included both Western lyric soprano arias and Chinese songs, and was followed by the success of the Christmas in Vienna album. Her next recording was of a new work, Mirror of Perfection, by Richard Blackford. In the 1998 - 1999 season, Huang Ying returned to China for a gala with José Carreras and sang a concert for the Prime Minister of Malaysia on Pankor Laut Island. She also premiered Tan Dun's new opera Peony Pavilion, which blends elements of traditional Chinese music, the Western classical tradition, and international pop and rock music. It was premiered successfully in a production directed by Peter Sellars that toured to Vienna, London, Paris, and Berkeley, CA. Her next album, Bitter Love, is a set of arias adapted for her from the opera by Tan Dun for Chinese instruments, modern percussion, and synthesizers.