Chinese New Year's Day ConcertMusic
Melbourne Recital Centre
Sunday, February 10
IN THE first production outside their homeland, China Shanghai International Arts Festival presented a special concert to welcome in the Chinese New Year. Four of China's leading tenors - Gu Xin, Chi Liming, Xue Haoyin and Yang Yang - were joined by rising Australian soprano Greta Bradman.
Under guest conductor Zhu Man from the China National Opera House, Orchestra Victoria delivered a very credible opening with the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, before accompanying each singer in traditional Italian songs and opera arias from Rossini and Puccini. Tenors have long sought safety in numbers and this concert featured all four in familiar arrangements of Verdi's La donna e mobile and O sole mio, which gave the younger singers the opportunity to steal the limelight. Soprano Greta Bradman sang Mozart's Dove sono with flawless intonation, and fluid phrasing.
Perhaps most successful of all was the delightful selection of Chinese traditional and popular songs, the tenors' obvious national pride and affection for the themes intensifying their emotional connection with the audience. In a specially commissioned arrangement by Gordon Hamilton, Bradman also led the younger trio of tenors in a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.