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THE 20TH BEIJING MUSIC FESTIVAL



“(Die Walküre, Beijing Music Festival) This co-production of Die Walküre was certainly one of the most memorable ones in my life as intendant. 50 years after the original premiere in Salzburg you [Jaap van Zweden] conveyed Karajan‘s spirit to Beijing in a deeply moving way. Thank you for joining this project with the wonderful Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Your conducting was so energetic, idiomatic and transparent and you really deserve this triumph!”


Professor Peter Ruzicka, Managing Director and Intendant of the Salzburg Easter Festival,Oct 2017



“(Die Walküre, Beijing Music Festival) The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s intense, five-hour rendition of Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre (“The Valkyrie”) left classical-music lovers breathless, but yearning for more during Tuesday’s performance at the Beijing Poly Theater… Conductor Jaap Van Zweden’s sense of pacing and drama never falters.”


Poornima Weerasekara, Caixin Global News, Oct 2017



“(Bruckner 8, Beijing Music Festival) Throughout the symphony, conductor and orchestra kept their poise, moving from one passage to the next with fluidity and great care. The highlight of the evening was the brass playing, where van Zweden exerted a panoply of expressive tone colours, vivid dynamics and bright contrasts to make his points. It drew comparisons to the landmark performance of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Carlo Maria Giulini or, more recently, that of the Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra under Yannick Nézet–Séguin. In Beijing’s Poly Theatre, orchestral sounds had to be calibrated as much as possible to counter the dry, sub-optimal acoustics. In the famous Adagio, the dryness of sound was exacerbated by the string sections delivering a timid, lukewarm performance; van Zweden regularly signalled the strings for greater vibration but the outcome varied. The Finale, with its magnetic buoyancy and brassy statements pointing to the wide-open gates of the Almighty, provokes an imagery of limitless boundaries.”


Lam Pak Ling, Seen and Heard International, Nov 2017