Everyone’s favourite outdoor concert, Swire Symphony under the Stars was a huge success tonight (11 Nov 2011, Friday) at the Happy Valley Racecourse Recreation Ground. While the temperature has dropped over the past few days, the arena itself was heated by close on 15,000 music lovers from all walks of life – families with children, star-crossed lovers, friends, students, business people and tourists from around the globe. Many of them arrived as much as 2 hours before the performance to find the ideal spot on the grass to lay out their picnic and drinks and relish the music.
Michael MacLeod, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, gave a warm welcome to the audience before the concert, and Perry So, Associate Conductor of the HKPO, opened the programme with Richard Strauss’s atmospheric Also Sprach Zarathustra: opening, which perfectly caught the theme – 2011: A Space Odyssey. This was followed by the overture to Haydn’s opera Il mondo della luna, American soprano Lindsay Russell dazzled the audience with her angelic voice in “Se la mia stella” and two arias from Mozart’s Magic Flute – “O Zittre nich, mein lieber Sohn!” and “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen”. Also on the programme were Debussy’s Clair de lune, Holst’s The Planets, Mosolov’s The Iron Foundry, Khachaturian’s Gayane and the widely popular Reflection of the Moon on Erquan by Hua Yanjun. Before the performance and during the intermission, the HKPO’s horn players Homer Lee, Natalie Lewis and percussionist Sophia Woo joined the audience for informal conversation.
Swire Symphony under the Stars is – a free open-air symphony concert – has been a wonderful tradition since 2006. This year, the HKPO offered a fun new element in the interactive HKPO Swire Symphony under the Stars (SUTS) iPhone app. The audience can not only read the artist biographies and programme notes at their finger tips, but can also transform their iPhone into a handy musical instrument by enabling the game function. And before the last piece in the programme – The Blue Danube - Perry invited the audience to join in a Large Music-Making Session by “shaking” the percussion instruments on the iPhone app or playing their DIY musical instruments. A spectacular array of colourful fireworks, as well as encores including John Williams’ Star Wars and Rossini’s William Tell brought this wonderful evening to a close.
Thanks to the generous and continued support of the Orchestra’s Principal Patron, Swire Symphony under the Stars is in its fifth year and is the most important public part of the Orchestra’s dedicated drive to open out the arts to the community.
The concert is live broadcast by Radio 4. The TV programme is recorded by RTHK and will be simulcast on Radio 4, via TVB Pearl and on RTHK’s website (www.rthk.hk) on 10 December (Sat) at 2:15pm.
Swire Symphony under the Stars Press Kit Download (Include Press Images):http://download.hkpo.com/files/press/20111111_SUTS/20111111_SUTS.zip
Principal Patron: SWIRE
Presented in association with: Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Major Sponsors: HSBC Insurance, Tom Lee Music
Media Partners: RTHK Television Division, RTHK Radio 4
HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Edo de Waart
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) is one of Asia’s leading orchestras. Enriching Hong Kong’s cultural life for over a century, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of Chinese and international talents, attracting world-class artists to collaborate on its stage. HKPO annually touches the lives of over 200,000 music lovers through more than 150 performances including its extensive education programme HSBC Insurance Creative Notes and free concerts such as the popular Swire Symphony under the Stars, and regular broadcasts and telecasts. Outside of Hong Kong, the HKPO has made a number of critically acclaimed tours in Asia and Europe.
The 2011/12 season will mark Maestro Edo de Waart’s eighth and final season with the HKPO. Apart from his own series of five special programmes which are summaries of his achievements with the Orchestra over the last seven years, ending with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the new season will also attract a stellar cast of great artists and guest conductors.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is financially supported by the
Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
SWIRE is the Principal Patron of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is the Venue Partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre
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