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World renowned singers Michelle De Young & Stuart Skelton join forces with Maestro Edo de Waart in Mahler’s The Song of the Earth on 2&3 September to celebrate the HKPO’s 2011/12 New Season


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[19 July 2011 – Hong Kong] Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s new concert season will officially open on 2&3 September 2011 (Fri & Sat) at 8pm, in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. The theme for the new season is “Our Great Journey with Edo” and it launches with the first part of a very special “Edo de Waart Festival”. The concert - Bank of Communications brings to you: Edo de Waart Festival: “Season Opening Gala – Heaven and Earth” – sees world renowned mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung and tenor Stuart Skelton join with Maestro Edo de Waart and the HKPO in a performance of Mahler’s The Song of Earth. Also in the programme will be Mozart’s Symphony No.41 in C Jupiter.

Free pre-concert talks will be held on both nights, 7:15pm at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. For details, please visit

Edo de Waart, conductor

“Mahler's majesty is de Waart's triumph."

--- Sam Olluver, South China Morning Post

Edo de Waart is currently Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the HKPO. Renowned for possessing the rare gift of being able to transform orchestras into world-class ensembles, he has held such distinguished positions as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of both the Sydney Symphony and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Opera, and Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Minnesota orchestras. He is also Music Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic.

Last September the HKPO undertook a critically-acclaimed tour of three major Chinese cities under Maestro de Waart’s leadership. In addition to concerts in Xi’an and Beijing, the HKPO performed in Shanghai at Expo 2010.

Edo says:
“They’re two of the most exciting singers around. Stuart brings phenomenal character to these songs, and Michelle is spellbinding – there’s no other word for sound like hers. This is Mahler’s vision of infinity. It’s timeless and very close to my heart.”

Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano

“a powerful singer with a warm, seductive tone that she used to consistently fine effect.”

---The New York Times

American mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung will be making her Hong Kong début at this concert. The music of Mahler has been central to her professional career, the first decade of which was devoted almost wholly to performances of it. As she says, “I feel very fortunate because I love Mahler. I feel like I understand it more and more as I sing it. You can tell by how he wrote the symphonies and songs for the mezzo-soprano that he definitely liked that voice. It also suits his music.”

Michelle won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1992 and has been a regular performer at New York’s Metropolitan Opera ever since. Her recording of Mahler’s Kindertötenlieder and Third Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony for SFS Media was awarded the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album. She was also awarded the 2001 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording for Berlioz’s Les Troyens with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Stuart Skelton, tenor

“like a true heldentenor, seething with bitterness and contempt while never being swamped by the huge climaxes nor resorting to bluster or rant.”
--- Limelight Magazine
(on Skelton’s recording of The Song of the Earth with the Sydney Symphony under Ashkenazy)

Making his HKPO début in The Song of the Earth, which he has performed with Michelle DeYoung in Ravinia, Stuart Skelton was awarded the inaugural Lauritz Melchior Prize for the best Heldentenor on recording. He has also been recognized as one of the finest heroic tenors of his generation, and critically acclaimed for his beautiful voice, outstanding musicianship and intensely dramatic portrayals in performances on the leading concert and operatic stages of the world.

He has performed The Song of the Earth with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under James Conlon, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under Kent Nagano, the RTE National Symphony Dublin, the Netherlands Radio Symphony and the Sydney Symphony under Vladimir Ashkenazy, Michael Tilson Thomas in San Francisco and Daniel Harding in Frankfurt.

This year the musical world is commemorating the centenary of Mahler’s death and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra joins in those global festivities with its season opening concert, which also launches Maestro de Waart’s final season as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor. The concert presents Mahler’s great song-symphony The Song of the Earth which infuses German translations of Chinese verses by the great poet Li Bai with luxuriant orchestral colours and powerful musical emotions. 

Described as having a voice “ideally suited to Mahler’s vocal writing” (Newsday), the three-time Grammy winning mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung joins with famed Australian tenor Stuart Skelton, whose numerous performing and recording credits include many appearances in The Song of the Earth. These two great Mahler singers, along with the HKPO and Maestro de Waart, promise an once-in-a-lifetime performance of this monumental work.

Mozart never named his symphony Jupiter – the title came much later and was apparently inspired by the Roman God of Thunder – but the work not only provides the climatic culmination of Mozart’s symphonic output but also sums up the whole essence of the Classical era; humanity and intelligence in perfect balance.

Bank of Communications brings to you:
Edo de Waart Festival: Season Opening Gala – Heaven and Earth
2&3 | 9 | 2011
HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall
HK$400 $300 $220 $140
Available at URBTIX from now


Edo de Waart director/violin
Michelle DeYoung mezzo-soprano
Stuart Skelton tenor

Click the thumbnail to download photos


MOZART  Symphony No.41 in C Jupiter
MAHLER  The Song of the Earth

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For programme enquiry, please call HKPO at
(852) 2721 2030

Edo de Waart
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) is one of Asia’s leading orchestras. Enriching Hong Kong’s cultural life for over a century, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of Chinese and international talents, attracting world-class artists to collaborate on its stage. HKPO annually touches the lives of over 200,000 music lovers through more than 150 performances including its extensive education activities for children and adults alike, and free concerts such as the popular Swire Symphony under the Stars, and regular broadcasts and telecasts. Outside of Hong Kong, HKPO has made a number of critically acclaimed tours in Asia and Europe. In the 2010/11 season, the Orchestra undertakes a China tour of Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing under the leadership of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Maestro Edo de Waart. The first of which is an Expo 2010 programme.

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
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is the Venue Partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre

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