Shanghai New Year's Concert to Bring an Evening of Opera Classics for the First Time

31 Dec, 2015, 09:00 ET from Shanghai Symphony Hall Management Co. Ltd

SHANGHAI, Dec. 31, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Shanghai New Year's Concert to be presented by Shanghai Symphony Orchestra on the last day of 2015 will feature a selection of opera masterpieces by Verdi for the first time, changing the tradition of orchestral music taking the lead role in New Year's concerts.

After six successful concerts in seven years, Shanghai New Year's Concert has become a well-established cultural brand and holiday tradition in the city that features internationally renowned maestros conducting Shanghai Symphony Orchestra to present all-time classical masterpieces to the audiences.

"Shanghai Symphony Orchestra's New Year's Concert was the first real New Year's concert that is closely related to the music scene in the Shanghai, it has its own themes and particular emphasis when drawing up the program every year instead of simply copying the New Year's concerts from abroad," commented critic Li Yanhuan.

Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will also debut the 2016 Spring Festival Concert on February 6, 2016, which will bring together the magnificent Chinese folk music and grand Western orchestral music. The concert will also feature contemporary Chinese compositions that aim to explore new cultural values in the traditions.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's chief conductor Daniele Gatti to take the baton

Last year, the Shanghai New Year's Concert staged in the Shanghai Symphony Hall featuring works by Sibelius, Ravel and Stravinsky stood out from the series of New Year's concerts hosted in Shanghai that mostly featured traditional programs such as waltz and polka.

Shanghai Symphony Orchestra has been focusing on incorporating the guest conductors' best works when planning the concert program -- Riccardo Muti has led the orchestra's performance of "Capriccio Italien," Kurt Masur brought works by Beethoven, Mikhail Pletnev conducted Russian masterpieces, Alan Gilbert showed authentic American Jazz, Christoph Eschenbach conducted works by Mahler, Weber and Mendelssohn as well as Paavo Jarvi's presentation of "Ma Vlast."

German maestro Masur, who conducted the 2011 Shanghai New Year's Concert and presented Beethoven's Symphony No.9 to the Shanghai audience, passed away on December 19.

"The Beethoven Symphony No.9 conducted by Masur at that concert was one of the best performances in the history of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra," recalled Chen Guangxian, who was the president of the orchestra at that time. "I remembered Masur's hands were trembling backstage, he couldn't eat without his wife's help, but immediately as he took the stage and picked up the baton, it was by hands of the god."

Following this strategy, the 2016 Shanghai New Year's Concert will be conducted by Daniele Gatti, the newly appointed chief conductor of Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Netherlands. The orchestra has previously topped Gramophone magazine's ranking of top 10 symphony orchestras in the world.

Soprano Olga Peretyatko will join Gatti and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra to perform Verdi's opera pieces including "E strano! e strano!' from "La traviata" and "Caro nome" from "Rigoletto" among others.

Gatti is another internationally acclaimed conductor from Italy following the footsteps of Arturo Toscanini, Muti, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Claudio Abbado. As an experienced opera conductor, he has performed iconic opera works in major opera houses around the world. In December 2013, Gatti conducted La Scala's opening night performance of "La traviata" which unveiled the year-long celebration of Verdi's 200th anniversary. Gatti is also keen to promote new opera productions as well.

At the 2016 Shanghai New Year's Concert, the renowned Verdi conductor will bring an evening of opera classics to the Shanghai audience, featuring both orchestral and aria pieces from "La traviata", "Rigoletto", "Aida" and more. The program will create an exciting musical journey around the world as the stories of the operas were set in ancient Egypt, ancient Babylon, Italy, Sweden as well as the Middle East.

This is also the second Shanghai New Year's Concert conducted by an Italian maestro since Muti in 2009 along with the return of "I vespri siciliani." Shanghai Symphony Orchestra's breakthrough to feature opera in addition to orchestral music at the New Year's Concert is bringing a new sound to the New Year's concert tradition.

Russian soprano Peretyatko has a brighter and more crystal clear voice comparing with other Russian sopranos on today's world stage. At the concert, she'll transform into Violetta Valery or the Ethiopian princess Aida to challenge the emotional changes and personalities of different roles in Italian opera with her superb voice and singing techniques.

Spring Festival Concert -- musical expression of contemporary China

As one of the key missions of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra is to bring western classical music to Chinese audience while at the same time give the world the opportunity to hear the voice of China, on February 6, 2016, just in time for the Spring Festival, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will debut the 2016 Spring Festival Concert as an all-new brand which representes the next breakthrough since the Shanghai Symphony Hall was opened in 2014.

The Spring Festival Concert will be conducted by Yan Huichang, music director of Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and feature young guzheng player Su Chang, master sheng player Weng Zhenfa as well as Mailasu, musician of morin khuur, overtone singing and temur huur.

The 2016 Spring Festival Concert will be different from other similar concerts celebrating the Chinese New Year by combining traditional folk music with western symphony orchestra while at the same time present new contemporary compositions through the fusion of east and west.

The program includes not only the festive "Spring Festival Overture," but also works such as the Symphony No.1 Chang'an, "Sketch of the Guizhou Ranges," "Ru Shi for Zheng and Orchestra" and "Changes, concert for Sheng and Orchestra" that reflect different ethnic cultures.

"Gen," or "The Source" for Morin Khuur, overtone singing, temur huur and orchestra is a piece that blends traditional Chinese music with world music.

The concert will also present folk songs "Colorful Clouds Chasing the Moon" and music from the film "The Legend of The Condor Heroes" to create a new Spring Festival experience for Shanghai audience.

Zhou Ping, president of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, explained the initial idea behind creating the new Spring Festival Concert brand:

"Traditional Chinese music represents our own voice and can reflect our emotions and inner world, and the best way to welcome the Chinese New Year is through the combination of Chinese and western music," she said. "New York Philharmonic stages Spring Festival concert every year and has become an important local cultural activity, which also shows that the Chinese culture is being accepted and loved by more and more western audience."

To create a Spring Festival Concert that belongs to the city, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra is actively experimenting with different forms of artistic expression, letting the tradition to communicate with the modern era through a series of crossover efforts that will provide an opportunity for more Shanghai audience to experience the charms of music.

The tickets of the first Spring Festival Concert is currently hot selling and can be purchased online or at the box office.

SOURCE Shanghai Symphony Hall Management Co. Ltd