New year orchestral concert to be an evening of happiness

A series of Strauss's works is expected to cheer up audiences at the 2018 New Year Concert of Shanghai Symphony Hall.

Strauss’s works will be presented at the 2018 New Year Concert of Shanghai Symphony Hall.

Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck will blend Viennese and Chinese traditions through mezzo-soprano Zhu Huiling and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

The program list includes well-known Strauss II’s pieces like “Voices of Spring," “Furioso-Polka,” “On the Hunt” and “Thunder and Lightning,” as well as other light pieces such as Franz von Suppe’s “Poet and Peasant,” Dvorak’s “Rusalka Fantasy” and Chinese composer Li Huanzhi’s “Spring Festival Overture.”

Apart from strictly showcasing a Viennese style, Honeck also wants the concert to be as fun as possible. While presenting Strauss’s “Thunder and Lightening,” 12 musicians will hold red umbrellas on the stage to give audiences “thunder” and “lightening” both acoustically and visually.

“I told the musicians that they can do anything with the umbrellas to visually help audiences understand the pieces better — it will be an evening of happiness," Honeck said.

Honeck also selected “Meine Lippen sie kussen so heiss” from opera “Giuditta” for Zhu. Though it was originally a piece for a soprano, he believes that it will fit Zhu’s voice color perfectly with certain adaption.

As a former musician at the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, and now a conductor and the music director of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Honeck understands the “Viennese style” as something deeply rooted in Austrian music history, tradition and language, yet it can also be presented by musicians from other countries through efforts.

“The musicians of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra have a good feel for music — they get it quickly,” he said.

Calling himself a big fan of traditions, Honeck considers the biggest challenge for orchestras, including Viennese ones, the notion that we are “living in an age of forgetting the traditions.” 

“As Mahler said, the most important thing is not written in the music. What is the most important? You have to find it out. It is something that cannot be explained,” he added.

Performance details

Date: December 31, 8pm
Venue: Shanghai Symphony Hall
Address: 1380 Fuxing Rd.M
Tickets: 380 - 1,280 yuan
Tel: 4008-210-522

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