Shedding light on Schubert's forgotten operas

Yao Minji
With 2,000 shows across Europe and America, Lu Jia is one of China's most-known conductors. Now, he's conducting the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in Schubert's forgotten operas.
Yao Minji

Franz Schubert's operatic attempts have been largely forgotten, with only some charming incidental music he wrote for the play "Rosamunde" still occasionally performed.

The play's overture will open the upcoming concert "Lu Jia Conducts Schubert" on November 11, performed by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

The earliest-existing record of the orchestra performing this work dates back to March 13, 1923, conducted by Mario Paci (1878-1946), 100 years after the play's premiere in Vienna's Theater an der Wien on December 20, 1823.

Lu, a Shanghai native who has conducted over 2,000 orchestral concerts and operas mainly in Europe and the United States, will surely bring a different flavor of Schubert.

Lu has been widely praised for his interpretations of German classical romanticism and French impressionists. He was the first Asian conductor to serve as artistic director of a major Italian opera house, and the first Chinese conductor to lead the Chicago Symphony.

Having worked with many important productions around the world, Lu was also the first Chinese conductor to record Felix Mendelssohn's complete orchestral works, and the only conductor so far to have recorded the complete works by Swedish composer Ingvar Lidholm.

The concert will also include Schubert's "Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major" and the world premiere of a contemporary work by Grammy-nominated Zhou Tian, "Night Tour."

It is a violin concerto commissioned by the orchestra for the Shanghai Isaac Stern Violin Competition, the required Chinese piece played by all six finalists early this summer.

Lin Ruifeng, a 22-year-old student at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, was one of the finalists and will be featured at the world premiere for "Night Tour."

Composer Zhou took inspiration from a late-night bullet train trip to Shanghai in 2019. the hustle and bustle at the train station prompted him to pen three movements – namely Vivo, Amroso and Con brio – about the tours at night, full of hope.

Shedding light on Schubert's forgotten operas

Performance info:

Date: November 11, 8pm

Venue: Concert Hall, Jaguar Shanghai Symphony Hall

Address: 1380 Fuxing Rd M.

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