In a very special celebration of the Chinese New Year, The People's Republic of China (PRC) Ministry of Culture and the Shanghai Municipal Government join the China Shanghai International Arts Festival, China's premier international performing arts festival, and the China National Opera House to present the Chinese New Year's Day Concert, a bold showcase of some of China's finest opera at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Sunday 10 February.
This landmark collaboration between star tenors from China's leading opera houses together with Orchestra Victoria and guest Australian soprano Greta Bradman will be the China Shanghai International Arts Festival's first concert outside of China, as the two countries herald in the new Chinese Year of the Snake. Singing together in both English and Chinese, they perform a unique repertoire divided between popular folk songs and classical arias from east and west.
Under the acclaimed baton of permanent China National Opera House conductor Zhu Man, one of the most active young female conductors in China today, Melbourne welcomes four of China's leading tenors; Chi Liming, heralded by sections of the Western media as "the most promising tenor in the world", frequenting distinguished stages across the US and Europe since 2005; Xue Haoyin, winner of the 2005 Royal Opera House Young Artists Competition, playing a myriad of principal roles on the Covent Garden stage from 2006-2009 before choosing to return to China; Gu Xin, President of the China Oriental Performing Arts Group; and Yang Yang, winner of the Mandarin Art Performing Prize, China's leading award for the performing arts, the Golden Bell Award, China's highest music prize, and recognised in 2012 by CCTV (China Central Television) as one of the China's top ten tenors.
The Chinese performers will share the stage with guest Australian soprano Greta Bradman (grand-daughter of Sir Donald Bradman). Bradman has learnt one well-known Chinese folk song, "In A Faraway Place", while the Chinese tenors have mastered Greta Bradman's choice, Australia's unofficial national anthem, "Waltzing Matilda". Commissioned for the event, the new arrangement by director and conductor of a cappella group The Australian Voices, GorDon Hamilton, captures the fascinating appeal of the collaboration with its capacity to re-imagine familiar cultural artefacts into new and unknown territories. Says concert co-ordinator Barry Plews, "Australia and China are very different and the cultural landscapes in the two countries can be very different indeed, but it is interesting, the two together, performing together, performing the same works together, but being themselves 'different'. Waltzing Matilda indeed!"
The Chinese New Year's Day Concert is presented by the Centre for China Shanghai International Arts Festival in association with the China National Opera House and supported by Orchestra Victoria.
Presented by China Shanghai International Arts Festival, the Chinese New Year's Day Concert will take place on Sunday, 10 February, 2013, at 3pm at the Melbourne Recital Centre, 31 Sturt Street, Southbank. Greta Bradman, soprano, Gu Xin, Chi Liming, Xue Haoyin & Yang Yang, tenor, and Zu Man, conductor, with Orchestra Victoria. Tickets: melbournerecital.com.au / 03 9699 3333.