Tuesday, October 4, 2011

SATOSHI on the 40th Hong Kong Arts Festival

Advance booking for the 40th Hong Kong Arts Festival starts today and I am happy to announce that I have already done it! So here are the shows I have booked for me and my friends in the order of importance (to me):

  • Myung-whun Chung and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra - In December 2008, a group of top critics invited by Gramophone magazine ranked it as the top symphony orchestra in the world. Next year will not just be a great opportunity to hear the orchestra’s “immediately identifiable sound”, but actually a chance to hear the orchestra play in OUR concert hall. It would be quite interesting to hear the orchestra in an acoustical environment that I am familiar with.
  • Karita Mattila in Recital – She is the most electrifying singing actress today. I once saw her as Donna Anna in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Don Giovanni. Considering that Bryn Terfel was Don Giovanni and Susan Graham was Donna Elvira, Mattila still managed to stand out with the perfect combination of luminous tone and neurotic persona. This will be my first time to see her in a recital format… can’t wait…
  • Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra – This programme has the highest ticket count in my booking. Ranking no. 6 in the Gramophone magazine list of top symphony orchestra in the world, I am particularly looking forward to its Austro-German classical programme and not to mention hearing the award-winning German baritone Christian Gerhaher.
  • The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra – I have known this wonderful ensemble for quite some time, but never had the chance to hear them live. They will be having two all-Handel concerts and I can easily recommend any of the two. I chose Messiah though.
  • Koon Woo Paik Plays Ravel – I love Ravel’s piano music and with Korean super-virtuoso Koon Woo Paik, it sounds like the perfect combination.
  • The Hamburg Ballet’s A Streetcar Named Desire – One has to admit that a ballet interpretation of this powerful play by Tennessee William is intriguing. Though this ballet was first staged in 1983, this revival promises a visceral choreography with music by Prokofiev and Schnittke.
  • Cosi Fan Tutte by the Bavarian State Opera – This could be higher in my list, but this is one opera that I have seen one too many times with very good singers. Having said that, the cast includes Miah Persson and Thomas Allen, two artists I admire and look forward to seeing them perform again.
  • A Magic Flute by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord – This re-imagination of Mozart’s The Magic Flute by Peter Brook promises to distill the original opera to its core with clarity and simplicity. I have to say that this is most intriguing and I will most probably come out of the theatre totally disgusted or totally ecstatic.
  • Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo’s Le Songe – The programme description looks quite awesome. I believe the strength of this production will be Jean–Christophe Maillot’s choreography and the costume and set that will translate and deliver the fantastical world of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest – Who doesn’t like Oscar Wilde? This is a classic and I look forward to be simply entertained ☺

So 10 all in all (last year, I had 12). I could easily go up to 16, but then I also risks not being able to attend at the very end. There are other shows that I will consider, but not for advance booking, such as: Pavel Haas Quartet, Les Ballet de l'Opera de Lyon, The Geisha of Gion, and Faith Healer

How about you? I would love to hear what you have booked.

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At October 5, 2011 at 3:24 PM , Blogger Sheila said...

Next year's programmes look more promising to me than this year's since my interests lie mainly in theatre and opera, narrower than you.
A coincidence that I just saw LA Opera's Cosi fan Tutte last Sunday. They transferred the Glyndebourne production here. I had seen some excerpts of Cosi fan Tutte before and found the opera too slow-paced, but this time I at once fell in love with it and watched the whole 2006 Glyndebourne DVD (with Miah Persson). The Bavarian State Opera's production seems to me to be more "rural" visually.
If I were still in HK, I'd probably go see all the non-Cantonese plays. LA has a quite dynamic theatre scene, but I envy HKers all the British productions coming over to HK in the Festival.
I don't have much to say about the concerts...I haven't heard of Karita Mattila (I'm still a beginner in the classical world), but I like lieder; 2 years ago I went to a concert by Pavel Haas Quartet in US, but I'm no good at judging...
Anyway, good for you! Hope you'll have a great time enjoying them next year.

At October 5, 2011 at 6:09 PM , Blogger SATOSHI said...

Thanks Sheila... I think you are better off in LA for arts... but of course when it comes to British production... yes, I do think HK gets its fair share... As for Karita Mattila, just remember the name and if you have a chance to see her, please do, she will not disappoint you :-)


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