Thursday, October 30, 2014

A very musical 10 days in Beijing

Cast ot Elektra BMF performance
Back from a long trip to Beijing. Much of it unbloggable but it was remarkably musical:
  • On Sunday I sang in the English Choir of the South Cathedral (Xuānwǔmén Tiānzhǔtáng) which was as always a moving and enjoyable experience. On this occasion I was the only Westerner in the Choir. The Anthem was Elgar's Ave Verum, simple and moving.
  • On Tuesday we went to the Leipzig Opera production of Ariadne Auf Naxos - our friend Yu Long had kindly sent us VIP Tickets.  This was an absolute delight - I'd never seen the opera before (!) and what a joy. The wonderful number Die Dame gibt mit trubern Sinn had me in stitches: one of the funniest musical jokes ever written where the song and dance troupe are trying to cheer up Ariadne and then their "pop star" Zerbinetta starts singing in the modernist style on top of their jaunty "es gilt, ob Tanzen//Ob Singen tauge."  The cast was excellent and I guess particular praise is due to Michaela Selinger as The Composer, Sharleen Joynt as Zerbinetta and Meagan Miller as Ariadne.
  • On Thursday after the HBR Summit the Harvard and Chicago alums has organised concert with some young singers and orchestra, including a violinist friend of Lang Lang's who had performed for Premier Xi the previous day.
  • On Friday there was an excellent concert performance of Elektra conducted by Charles Dutiot with a very strong cast, including Siegfried Jerusalem playing the old king.
  • Finally on Sunday Yu Long triumphantly conducted the China Phil in the Strauss Violin Concerto and Ein Heldernleben. The soloist was Lu Wei who was very good indeed - you can hear that he has played with Sophie Mutter a lot. And was delighted to see that Yu Long put the baton down for the 2nd movement of the concerto and conducted just with his hands. As in the Prom, this caused the orchestra to play even better.  I do hope he does it more often.
Yu Long applause after Strauss Concert
In addition to this musical cornucopia the trip was highly productive and interesting from a business point of view. Also Daughter came over for part of it - her first visit to Beijing which she enjoyed greatly. She also met a lot of very interesting people, and got to the Art District, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.

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