Mehta returns to kick-start 2014

Updated: 2013-12-29 08:22

By Xu Jingxi in Guangzhou(China Daily)

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Zubin Mehta, a four-time conductor of the Vienna New Year's Concert, is presenting an invigorating New Year's Eve to the audience in Guangzhou, with strong-beat excerpts from Spanish operas adding spice to the Strauss brothers' classics for the Vienna New Year's Concert.

The 77-year-old maestro is on a concert tour to seven Chinese cities with the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, the resident orchestra of Valencia's opera house. The orchestra was established in 2006 by another prominent conductor, Lorin Maazel, who picked each member himself.

Classical music lovers in China are familiar with Mehta, whose best-known production in the country may have been a performance of the Italian opera Turandot in Beijing's Forbidden City in 1998.

The Indian conductor's collaboration with Chinese film director Zhang Yimou captured the world's attention. "The production of Turandot in the Forbidden City was a culmination of my operatic experience," Mehta says. Mehta returns to kick-start 2014

He conducted the first time in China during a concert tour with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to Beijing and Shanghai in 1994, when he conducted at the Great Hall of the People for the first time.

The conductor has revisited Beijing for the capital's New Year's Concert three times, but he has decided to ring out 2013 at the Guangzhou Opera House, which was founded in 2010 and has become one of China's top three theaters.

The theater's eye-catching design by Zaha Hadid and the world-class acoustic design by Harold Marshall have attracted more and more big names like Mehta, who is renowned for a conducting style that is flamboyant, vigorous and forceful.

"Classical music in China today is common in every city which, I think, is a wonderful development. The building of so many excellent concert halls and opera houses in the country is adding to this explosion of culture," Mehta says.

His debut in Guangzhou 2012 was the city's biggest box-office hit among classical music concerts, when the opera house had to sell no-seat tickets to satisfy the eager fans.

The world-famous conductor says he enjoys working with Chinese musicians, such as pianists Lang Lang and Wang Yuja and violinist Zhu Dan.

"Until today I have not had the chance to conduct a Chinese orchestra, but I look very much forward to the upcoming collaboration with the National Center of the Performing Arts in Beijing in 2015," Mehta says.

At the concerts in Guangzhou on Dec 30 and 31, the first half each night will be a feast of Spanish operatic music from four Chinese composers. The second half features a classic repertoire of Strauss brothers' polka and waltz pieces, including the famous Blue Danube Waltz.

After the shows in Guangzhou, Mehta and the OCV will travel to Changsha, Shanghai, Wuhan, Hangzhou and Beijing in January.

 Mehta returns to kick-start 2014

Zubin Mehta, with the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, rings out 2013 at the Guangzhou Opera House. Provided to China Daily

(China Daily 12/29/2013 page9)