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A Gala Evening with the World's Most Sought-after Opera Diva Renée Fleming

18 March 2007

Hong Kong, 18 March 2007 - Renée Fleming, the most sought-after star soprano in the world today, will appear on Hong Kong's concert stage for the first time. She will sing Richard Strauss's famous Four Last Songs and three orchestral songs with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by David Atherton. A Gala Evening with Renee Fleming, supported by the Ladies Committee of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Society, will be held on 30 and 31 March 2007 (Friday and Saturday) at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall at 8pm. A fundraising gala dinner for the benefit of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Society, attended by local celebrities, will be held after the concert on 31 March on the 4th floor of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

Lyric soprano Renée Fleming is a celebrated interpreter of Richard Strauss's music, having sung Strauss's famous opera heroines - the Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier), Arabella (Arabella) and the Countess in Cappriccio - with great success. One of the most glamorous women in the world, whose superb artistry has inspired the "Renée Fleming Iris" and master chef Daniel Boulud's dessert "La Diva Renee" as well as her instatement as a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur by the French government, American soprano Renée Fleming continues to thrill audiences with a voice described as the "gold standard of soprano sound". A two-time Grammy winner, Fleming has earned seven other Grammy nominations as well as the Classical Brits Awards in 2004, for her "Outstanding Contribution to Music", and in 2003, as "the Female Artist of the Year". In addition to her work on stage and in recordings, Renee Fleming has represented Rolex timepieces in print advertising since 2001, and she has served as the inspiration for the main character in novelist Ann Patchett's best-selling book, Bel Canto. In 2001, she was named in Mr. Blackwell's best dressed list, and People magazine pronounced her one of its "25 Most Intriguing People of 2000." Additional high points this season have been performances at the Nobel Prize and Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo in December 2006.

Many of Richard Strauss's songs were inspired by or written for his wife, the soprano Pauline de Ahna, whom he married in 1894, while the Four Last Songs date from the last year of his life. He died just two days before they would have celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. The Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss (1864 - 1949) were an act of true inspiration for not only have they entered the repertoire as among the most loved and famous of all orchestral songs, but they present one of the most moving and poignant memorials to Strauss's life-long love-affair with the soprano voice.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra will also perform two other masterworks by the German composer: the orchestral suite of Strauss's most beloved opera Der Rosenkavalier and Metamorphosen, a work for 23 solo strings.

David Atherton was the Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra From 1989 to 2000. On his retirement from this position and in recognition of his services to the music of Hong Kong, he was awarded the OBE and made the orchestra's Conductor Laureate. He was co-founder of the London Sinfonietta and as its Music Director, gave the first performance of many important contemporary works. From 1980 to 1987 he was Music Director of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and he returns to California each summer to direct the Mainly Mozart Festival, which he founded in 1989. He has also held titled positions with the BBC Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

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A Gala Evening with Renée Fleming
30 & 31 March 2007 (Fri, Sat)
HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall
8pm
HK$1000, $700, $400, $250
Available from URBTIX now
www.urbtix.hk Reservations: 2734 9009
Credit Card booking: 2111 5999
Enquiries: 2721 2030
Website: www.hkpo.com

Artists

David Atherton conductor
Renee Fleming soprano

Programme

Richard Strauss Metamorphosen
  Four last songs
  Zueignung, Op.10 No.1
  Morgen!, Op.27 No.2
  Cacilie, Op.27 No.4
  Der Rosenkavalier suite

A Gala Evening with Renée Fleming is supported by the Ladies Committee of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Society.

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ABOUT THE HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is rapidly emerging as Asia’s leading orchestra, since internationally renowned Edo de Waart joined as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor in the 2004/05 Season. Throughout the last three decades, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of Chinese and international talents, attracting world-class artists to perform on the same stage. It gives over a hundred performances annually, many of which are highly anticipated events in the city’s cultural calendar. The Hong Kong Philharmonic reaches out to the community with such diverse activities as a comprehensive music-in-education programme for primary and secondary school students, performances at university campuses, an annual project with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to help nurture aspiring professionals, free pre-concert talks that provides in-depth knowledge of music and musicians and an open-air concert that gives the public free access to classical music.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is subvented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

SWIRE is the Principal Patron of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.