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Western diva Brightman to shine at concert in Beijing
(China Dailly)
Updated: 2005-12-26 09:33

Musical and opera diva Sarah Brightman and a few other international and Chinese classical music stars will join the gala New Year Concert at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on New Year's Eve.

This New Year Concert will highlight symphonic works under the baton of Tan Lihua, artistic director of an expanded 130-member Beijing Symphony Orchestra.

It will also feature operatic arias and duets with Ralf Weikert from Austria directing a 180-member choir including talent from the National Symphony Orchestra, the China Central Opera Theatre and the China Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Since the 1970s, Weikert has collaborated with the Vienna State Opera, the Hamburg State Opera, the Deutsche Opera Berlin, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

Under Weikert's baton, Broadway diva Brightman will sing her trademark songs selected from "Phantom of the Opera," "West Side Story" and "Time to Say Goodbye."

Brightman's last visit to Beijing was in the spring of 2004, during her widely acclaimed Harem World Tour. Highlighted by two sold-out concerts at the 15,000-capacity Capital Stadium, the Harem World Tour is cited as one of the most successful and highest-grossing tours by a Western artist in the Chinese mainland.

Italian tenor Marco Berti will sing an aria from Verdi's "Il Trovatore" and a Mongolian folk song with Chinese soprano Zhang Ye.

Lyric tenor Berti is in constant demand for the leading roles of Verdi and Puccini in all the major houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Teatro Communale in Florence, the Opera Bastille in Paris and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

Swiss pianist Andreas Haefliger will play Grieg's "Piano Concerto in A minor" while Chinese violinist Xue Wei who has been described as "one of the outstanding violinists of our time" by Gramophone will play Weniawsky's "Polonaise in D major."

With his formidable technique and musicality, and his innate sense of architecture and phrasing, Haefliger has received the highest praise throughout the world for performances that possess a rare combination of power, elegance and poetry.

He has performed with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra among many others.

He also established himself as a superb recitalist and became a frequent performer at premier recital venues and festivals.

Tan also reveals that his orchestra plans on paying a special Olympic tribute with each New Year's concert until the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games arrives. This year will feature John Williams' "Olympic Fanfare," written for the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games.

"Rosen aus dem Sden" will be the only waltz of Strauss in the concert. Ravel's "Borelo" will give the audience a sense of sensual Spanish dance rather than graceful waltz. And the concert will end with Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture."

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