[22 December 2016, Hong Kong] The live recording of Die Walküre, the second part of the four-year journey of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s (HK Phil) through Wagner’s Ring Cycle, has recently been released on the Naxos label and is winning rave reviews worldwide.
“The Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Ring cycle marks a coming of age for one of Asia’s most established orchestras … wouldn’t be out of place in Bayreuth … an orchestra that’s as good as you’ll find in most European opera houses.”
--- Ashutosh Khandekar, Opera Now, Dec 2016
“… evidence of van Zweden’s success in dramatically raising standards at Hong Kong … the orchestra sounds at home in Wagner’s rich sound world … it’s consistently impressive.”
--- Neil Fisher, The Times, Nov 2016
“… compelling … notwithstanding the amount of strong, familiar and older competition from the rest of the catalogue, this is an impressive and likeable achievement.”
--- Mike Ashman, Gramophone
“The Hong Kong Philharmonic’s playing is outstanding, with warm brass, incisive strings and a healthy, glossy overall sound … van Zweden’s achievement in turning his Hong Kong players into a Wagner orchestra to be reckoned with.”
--- Hugo Shirley, Opera, Jan 2017
“Best opera recording of 2016 … (the orchestra performance is never less than thoroughly professional and with that achievement they prove superior to many ensembles with decades-long associations with Wagner repertory”
--- Joseph Newsome, Voix dex Arts, Nov 2016
“van Zweden’s thrillingly vivid concert recording … a first rate cast”
--- Andrew Clements, The Guardian, Nov 2016
“… gorgeous work from Hong Kong …”
--- Joe Banno, The Washington Post, Dec 2016
Parts 1 and 2 from the HK Phil’s acclaimed performances are now available on CD/Blu-Ray on the Naxos label in local record stores.
The orchestra will perform part 3 – Siegfried –on 19th and 22nd January, 2017 in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. Conducted by HK Phil’s Music Director Jaap van Zweden and with Simon O’Neill (“…one of the most exciting tenor voices of his generation”, Sueddeutsche Zeitung) as Siegfried, the cast includes some of the great Wagnerian singers of our time. Familiar voices to those who have been following this epic production since it opened with Das Rheingold in 2015 include Matthias Goerne as Wanderer (“…shines through in his performances”, Opera Now), Falk Struckmann as Fafner, Deborah Humble as Erda, Heidi Melton as Brünnhilde (“…sheer vocal luxury”, Opera Now) and David Cangelosi as Mime. Additionally, Werner van Mechelen sings the role of Alberich, and Valentina Farcas is the voice of the woodbird.
Performance length is approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes including two intervals. The opera-in-concert will be recorded in live by Naxos and released on CD later the year.
Masterworks: The Ring Cycle Part 3: Siegfried will be held on 19 January (Thu) at 6PM & 22 January (Sun) at 3PM in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. Ticket prices: HK$980, $780, $480, $280 are now available at URBTIX. For enquiries, please call +852 2721 2332 or visit www.hkphil.org
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Music Director: Jaap van Zweden
Principal Guest Conductor: Yu Long
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) is recognised as Asia’s foremost classical orchestra. The Orchestra presents more than 150 concerts over a 44-week season and attracts more than 200,000 music lovers annually.
Jaap van Zweden, one of today’s most sought-after conductors, has been the Orchestra’s Music Director since the 2012/13 concert season, a position he will continue to hold until at least 2022. In addition, Maestro van Zweden will also be the next Music Director of the New York Philharmonic starting with the 2018/19 season.
Yu Long was appointed for an initial three-year term in the 2015/16 season as Principal Guest Conductor.
Under Maestro van Zweden, the HK Phil is undertaking a variety of initiatives including a four-year project to perform and record the complete Ring of the Nibelung (Richard Wagner). The Orchestra is in the third of this four-year journey, performing one opera annually in concert. The performances being recorded live for the Naxos label are winning widespread international rave reviews; and mark the first performances by a Hong Kong or mainland Chinese orchestra of the entire Ring cycle.
Also under van Zweden, the orchestra has undertaken tours to Taiwan, Europe and Mainland China. The orchestra will undertake an ambitious five-city tour to Seoul, Osaka, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney in April - May 2017 in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR.
Conductors and soloists who have recently performed with the orchestra include Yo-Yo Ma, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Ning Feng, Matthias Goerne, Lang Lang, Yu Long, Yundi Li, the late Lorin Maazel, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Yuja Wang.
The HK Phil promotes the work of Hong Kong and Chinese composers through an active commissioning programme, and has released recordings featuring Tan Dun and Bright Sheng, each conducting their own compositions, on the Naxos label. Its acclaimed community engagement programme brings music to tens of thousands of children annually. A recording was issued free to schoolchildren throughout Hong Kong of Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Leopold Mozart’s Toy Symphony.
The Swire Group has been the Principal Patron of the HK Phil since 2006. Through this sponsorship, which is the largest in the orchestra’s history, Swire also endeavours to promote artistic excellence, foster access to classical music and stimulate cultural participation in Hong Kong, and to enhance Hong Kong’s reputation as one of the great cities of the world.
Thanks to a significant subsidy from the Hong Kong Government and long-term funding from Principal Patron Swire, the Hong Kong Jockey Club and other supporters, the HK Phil now boasts a full-time annual schedule of classical music concerts, pops concerts, an extensive education programme, and collaborations for staged opera with Opera Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Arts Festival.
The Orchestra celebrated its 40th season as a professional orchestra in 2013/14.
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 a Venue Partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.