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De Waart conducts HKPO in Mahler's Symphony No.4

2006-01-09

Hong Kong, 9 January 2006 – In the 2005/06 Season, Edo de Waart, the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) continues its much anticipated Mahler cycle with his Symphony No.4. There will be two performances on 20 and 21 January 2006 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. The concerts are sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways.

Apart from the greatly expanded forces of the Orchestra, Mahler's Fourth, completed in 1900, is notable for the song, Das himmlische Leben (The heavenly life) for the soprano part in its forth movement. This song describes the great feast in heaven; and the soprano voice is impersonating the childlike nature in us all.

“ It's a whole different sort of Mahler from the Third, or the Fifth, or the Sixth, or indeed the Eighth which is gigantic, because this is much more in the scale of his songs, like Rückert-Lieder and Kindertotenlieder . It has a wealth of wonderful, beautiful music in it. If I had to name my half of the Mahler symphonies, it would certainly be in my favourite half,” said Edo de Waart.

Soprano Geraldine McGreevy is the perfect choice for this solo part, who won rave reviews in her portrayal of Elektra's gentle sister, Chrysothemis, in the opera-in-concert last September. “The singer who made the deepest impression of all was the younger sister – a rising star, Geraldine McGreevy. Her voice is sweet and gentle, which reminds me of Tebaldi, the legendary singer.” ( Hong Kong Economic Journal , 3 October 2005)

A 1996 Kathleen Ferrier award winner, her operatic roles have included Donna Anna ( Don Giovanni ), Countess Almaviva ( Le nozze di Figaro), and Freia ( Das Rheingold ) with Sir Simon Rattle at the BBC Proms. Her future engagements include Countess Almaviva for Glyndebourne, and her first Marschallin ( Der Rosenkavalier ) for the Komische Oper in Berlin.

McGreevy will also treat the audience to four songs by Richard Strauss: Caecilie, Morgen!, Wiegenlied, Zuiegnung . A lover of the soprano voice, Strauss wrote more than 200 songs. These four songs demonstrate a perfect blend of melody and expression of text. Both Caecili e and Morgen! were wedding present s he gave his wife Pauline de Ahna.

Siegfried Idyll , the orchestral opener by Wagner, was also the composer's special gift to his wife and child and it incorporated several of the more happy and contented themes from the opera Siegfried .

Cathay Pacific Discovery Series:
Edo de Waart conducts Mahler 4

20 & 21/1/2006 (Fri & Sat) 8pm
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
HK $400, $300, $200, $100
Tickets available at URBTIX now
Reservation 2734 9009/ 2111 5999
Enquiry: 2721 2030/ www.hkpo.com

Programme:

Wagner Siegfried Idyll
Richard Strauss Four Songs: Caecilie, Morgen!, Wiegenlied, Zuiegnung
Mahler Symphony No. 4
Edo de Waart

conductor
Geraldine McGreevy soprano