A stellar season for the performing arts
The St Petersburg Eifman Ballet will raise the curtain on the Shanghai Oriental Art Center’s 2019-20 season in September with two masterpieces. The performances are among 158 concerts, operas, dances, dramas and crossover shows on the season playbill.
The two ballets kicking off the season are “Anna Karenina” and “Beyond Sin,” which will be performed from September 12 to 15.
The center, a landmark in the Pudong New Area, is creating a more artistic atmosphere for audiences and visitors this year by hosting a series of mini exhibitions of paintings, sculpture and photography inside the venue. Entry is free of charge.
“Anna Karenina,” retuning to Shanghai for a third time, is based on Tolstoy’s sprawling novel, stripped of a myriad of subplots. It is the story of an extramarital affair between Anna and a dashing cavalry officer named Vronsky that scandalizes St Petersburg society, breaks up Anna’s marriage and ultimately leads to her suicide.
“Beyond Sin,” based on Dostoevsky’s novel “The Brothers Karamazov,” is making its Shanghai debut. It’s a psychological, philosophical story that explores ethical debates about God, free will and morality.
Ballet galas have long been a favorite of Shanghai audiences.
In October, the Czech National Ballet will bring to the stage its ballet gala as well as “La Bayadere,” a ballet adapted from the Indian myth “Shakuntala.”
Rising Russian ballet star Julian Mackay will join eight other dancers to stage a New Year Gala in January. And next June, the Royal Danish Ballet will greet Shanghai audience with its ballet gala.
Top international orchestras are also prominent in the coming season, including the Vienna Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Mariinsky Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony, the American National Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.
Colombian-Austrian conductor Andres Orozco-Estrada will take up the baton with the Vienna Philharmonic in performances by Chinese pianist Wang Yuja of classic pieces by Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky on October 27.
A day later, German conductor Christian Thielemann will lead the Vienna Philharmonic in an evening of Strauss family works.
In November, Russian conductor Valery Gergiev will lead the Mariinsky Orchestra in a program of masterpieces by Tchaikovsky.
Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons will bring the Boston Symphony to Shanghai in February for two concerts featuring works by Mozart and Beethoven. They will be joined by Israeli-American pianist Yefim Bronfman.
Opera fans shouldn’t miss the “Maria Callas in Concert Hologram,” scheduled on December 31 and January 1.
The show brings the opera legend, who died in 1977, back to life via hologram. She will sing arias to the accompaniment of full orchestra and even interact with the conductor and the audience.
To attract more youngsters to the season’s programs, Bulgaria’s Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra will present “Star Wars — The Empire Strikes Back Live with Orchestra” on January 8. The complete movie will be shown on a big screen, and more than 70 musicians will provide “background music.”
Virtuoso performances will also feature in the new season, bringing to the stage American violinist Sarah Chang, Dutch violinist Janine Jansen, German clarinetist Sabine Meyer and Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu.
Other renowned musicians will include Russian pianist Mikhail Pletnev, Chinese pianist Li Yundi, American violinist Joshua Bell, Swedish guitarist Goran Sollscher and French harpist Xavier de Maistre.
Original Chinese dances will also be presented in an innovative format. Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theater and Beijing’s Tao Dance Theater exchanged choreographers for the creation of two new works that will be staged in Shanghai.
Cloud Gate Dance founder and choreographer Lin Hwai-min is bringing his last work before retirement, “Autumn Water,” to the Oriental Art Center from November 7 to 10.
The National Ballet of China will present the Chinese version of “The Nutcracker” on January 8 and 9, and the Hong Kong Ballet is staging “The Great Gatsby” on November 15 and 16.
The program also includes an array of Chinese operas, and three works adapted from novels by Japan’s Keigo Higashino: “The Devotion of Suspect X,” “The Street Where the Dawn Breaks” and “After School.”
Tickets for some performances are already on sale. For more information, go to www.shoac.com.cn or the English site at en.shoac.com.cn.