Thursday, May 20, 2010

SATOSHI on Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra 2010-2011 season

When I thought that it can’t get any better, it didn’t!

I have sent in my subscription form today for the 2010-2011 season of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra after a long debate. A very attentive staff from HKPO called me on Tuesday to ask me about my ticket refund when I was on my way home from a business trip. She did also ask me whether I have already received the 2010-2011 season programme guide. While I explained that I have just got back from a business trip, I was very excited and can’t wait to have a look at the programme. Luckily, it was there when I got home. The first thing I checked was the opera. What will be the opera in the coming season? I flipped through the programme twice literally and went through the calendar once. There is no opera in the coming season!

In early March, it was announced that Maestro de Waart is stepping down at the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season. On Tuesday, then came this news that there is no “opera in concert”. On Wednesday morning, came the story in the South China Morning Post that the reason behind the missing opera was that the (orchestral) board found it “too risky… on financial grounds”. On Wednesday evening, I attended the Beethoven’s Symphony 9 concert and was amazed at the quality of the Shanghai Opera House Chorus (in comparison, the Opera Hong Kong Chorus sounded like high school choir). All this, on top of the fact that I find the 2011-2012 season programme inferior to the current season, make me worry on the future of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hong Kong SAR! OH, one more things! While Shanghai is having their first fully-staged Wagner’s Ring Cycle in September, here we are in Hong Kong is finding an “opera in concert” risky!

Am I just annoyed that Shanghai has already overtaken Hong Kong in this field or am I just being unreasonable in thinking that the HKPO board is not doing their job? Yes, I do believe that it is the board’s job to ensure the growth of the orchestra not by cutting cost, but by finding new ways to increase it revenue so that the orchestra can serve the aspiration of the city.

I subscribed to 8 out of the 9 series in the 2009-2010 season. While I do miss a few concerts here and there, I find the subscription method quite agreeable to my busy lifestyle. There are a lot of benefits in subscribing: I get to sit with my friends (since I subscribe for them), I get to sit on my regular seat and I get substantial discounts! In the 2010-2011 season, the HKPO is offering 8 series. My first reaction, after hearing all these irritating news and seeing the new line-up was to trim down my subscription down to 5 series. However, I do love the orchestra and want to support it. In such cases, one is either part of the problem or part of the solution… I ended up subscribing to 7 series. On the other hand, if this “decline” will become the trend, I might as well enjoy it while it lasts…

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At May 20, 2010 at 9:21 PM , Blogger WATER-TROTTER said...

What Opera would you love to see in Hong Kong?

At May 21, 2010 at 9:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which one of the 8 series did you not subscribe to......?

At May 22, 2010 at 5:36 PM , Blogger SATOSHI said...

I didn't subscribe to SOUNDFEST, though I might get a separate ticket for Atherton & Atherton because of Britten's Les Illumination.

As for the opera, I think the original plan of have Eugene Onegin was a wonderful idea! It would have fit perfectly in the Tchaikovsky Festival.

At May 27, 2010 at 2:18 PM , Blogger Peter said...

I'd love to see more Opera production in Hong Kong... was Elektra not a success? And Fidelio last week had rather good attendance. I'd love to see der Rosenkavalier in HK

At May 27, 2010 at 5:34 PM , Blogger SATOSHI said...

HI Peter. I would like to think that Elektra was a success, but then my criteria may not be HKPO's. Likewise, I think Fidelio did very well. As for Der Rosenkavalier, HKPO did a concert version in 2007-2008 season, but it would be very nice indeed to see it staged in HK.

At August 16, 2010 at 3:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dear, Maestro de Waart originally intended to do Eugene Onegin for this season in the Tchaikovsky Festival. The Board ruled it down on the ground of 'finance'.
Edo was very disappointed, because his original plan was to do Mahler Symphony No. 8, the Ring Cycle, et al during his term as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of HKPO.
I was bitterly disappointed by the HKPO Board's unjustified (and unjustifiable) intervention.
HKPO has its own working team on sponsorship. The then Development Director was more than willing to back up Maestro de Waart in his various 'costly' musical adventures, discounting the subsidy from HKSARG. The Board Chairman was just being pig-headed, I think. The CEO of HKPO will leave this November, no doubt bitterly disappointed by the Board's recent interventions.
Opera Hong Kong is of course putting up full operatic productions, but I note invariably that the singers chosen by Opera Hong Kong are at least one class inferior of those employed in Edo's operas in concert. For instance, Franz Hawlata, Michelle Breedt, He Hui, Krystian Sigmundson, and other soloists that sung with HKPO like Anna Caterina Antonacci, Deborah Voigt, Jose Carreras, Renee Fleming, Heidi Grant Murphy, and oh dear, many many other big-named vocalists and operatic stars, just dig them up from the past programmes led by Edo, and you'd see what I mean...we were really getting VALUE FOR MONEY attending Edo's concerts....
Gee, he'd be so SADLY MISSED after 2012!


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