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HKPO makes its debut at the Beijing Music Festival

2 October 2007

Hong Kong, 2 October 2007 – The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) will make its début at the Beijing Music Festival this Thursday, 4 October, at the Forbidden City Concert Hall. Conducted by Maestro Edo de Waart and featuring Elizabeth Connell, one of the world’s leading dramatic sopranos, the two superb Wagner interpreters and the over 100-strong orchestra will treat the audience to highlights of Richard Wagner’s signature works –The Ring, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg and Tannhäuser. Hailed as “one of Asia's top orchestras” after its Shanghai tour this May, HKPO’s Beijing concert is a highly anticipated event. HKPO’s Beijing Tour is made possible by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

Edo de Waart will conduct HKPO in Henk de Vlieger’s orchestral arrangement of Wagner’s only comic opera, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, as well as Ride of the Valkyries from The Valkyrie, the second opera from The Ring. Elizabeth Connell will sing excerpts from Tannhäuser, as well as the final scene from The Twilight of the Gods from The Ring of the Nibelung.

Elizabeth Connell is recognised as one of the world’s leading dramatic sopranos. In 1972 she sang at the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973 and has continued to have a special relationship with Opera Australia ever since. She has had very successful collaboration with conductors such as Abbado, Muti, Sinopoli, Giulini, Sawallisch, Mackerras, Downes, Sir Colin Davis, Maazel, Levine, Ozawa and Elder. She has sung at the Bayreuth (Lohengrin, Tristan and Der fliegende Holländer), Salzburg (Idomeneo and Elektra), Verona (Norma and Nabucco) and Glyndebourne (Idomeneo) Festivals. Her many recordings include Rossini's Guillaume Tell (Decca/Chailly), Mahler's Eighth Symphony (EMI/Tennstedt), Wagner's Lohengrin (Philips/Friedrich) and Schubert Lieder with Graham Johnson, as part of Hyperion’s Complete Schubert Edition. Her recent engagements include Brünnhilde, Norma, and Ariadne in Australia as well as Brünnhilde with Marek Janowski in concert in Berlin.

Wagner’s music is inextricably linked to Edo de Waart’s 40-year career as a conductor. In his youth, he was held spellbound by Wagner’s The Ring, having heard the recording of the late Georg Solti on LPs while reading the music in miniature scores. “I knew that for the first time in my life it was with the Ring Cycle that I had some sort of an almost out of body experience.” He conducted at Bayreuth in 1979, and has conducted extremely successful concert performances of The Ring in San Francisco and Sydney while he was Music/Artistic Director with the symphony orchestras there. One of Edo de Waart’s most important recording projects with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, with which he was Chief Conductor for 16 years, is a series of Wagner’s music on BMG/RCA, including three symphonic compilations of music from The Ring, Parsifal and Tristan and Isolde by Henk de Vlieger, composer and principal percussionist of the Orchestra. Recently, Edo de Waart also released two extremely fine discs of Wagner’s orchestral works with the same orchestra on EXTON, winning rave reviews. One of the reviewers on wrote: “De Waart is in the class of the greatest Wagnerians ever….when the music dies, the listener dies with it, I was holding my breath every time until the new ppp entry. Mesmerising.”

Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of Nibelung) is a series of four epic operas. Richard Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music from 1848 to 1874, over the course of twenty-six years! The four operas in the Ring cycle are Das Rheingold (The Rhinegold), Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), Siegfried and Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods). The Ring is a work of extraordinary scale and length. A full performance of the cycle typically takes place over four nights at the opera, with a total playing time of nearly 15 hours. An intriguing drama that follows three generations of protagonists, it depicts the struggles of gods, heroes and mythical creatures over the magic Ring that grants domination over the world.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg) occupies a special place in Wagner’s output. The story revolves around the guild of Meistersinger (Master Singers), an association of amateur poets and musicians, mostly from the middle class and often master craftsmen in their main professions. One of the main characters, the cobbler-poet Hans Sachs, is based on an actual historical figure: Hans Sachs (1494 — 1576), the most famous of the historical Meistersingers.

HK Philharmonic’s Beijing Tour is made possible by
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust

Edo de Waart and the Hong Kong Philharmonic – Wagner Gala

4 | 10 | 2007 Thursday
Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing
RMB ¥880, 680, 480, 280, 100
Beijing Music Festival Ticketing Office: (8610) 6503 0299
Beijing Music Festival Website:


Edo de Waart conductor
Elizabeth Connell soprano


Wagner (arr. Henk de Vlieger) The Mastersingers of Nuremberg
Wagner The Valkyrie: Ride of the Valkyries
Wagner Tannhäuser: Dich, teure Halle
Wagner The Twilight of the Gods: Funeral March and Immolation scene

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Hailed as “one of Asia's top orchestras”, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) is one of the leading orchestras in the region, led by the internationally renowned Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Edo de Waart. Enriching Hong Kong’s cultural life for over a century, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of Chinese and international talents in the last three decades, attracting world-class artists to perform on the same stage. In April 2006, The Swire Group Charitable Trust became the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Principal Patron, committing HK$36 million over three years to enable Maestro de Waart’s artistic vision for the Orchestra to be realized. HKPO annually touches the lives of nearly 200,000 music lovers through more than 150 performances, including a series of outreach activities such as the free outdoor concert Symphony under the Stars which attracted nearly 20,000 people. Please visit for more information about the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

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.