Saturday, September 18, 2010

Taiwan's NSO Season Opener

OK I rarely talk about concerts I've attended in Taipei but since there's hardly anything to talk about these days, why not start from here? I've just returned from a wonderful performance of Mahler's 5th by the National Symphony Orchestra. This evening was quite an event for 2 big reasons: Its opening night of their 2010/2011 season, and more importantly it marks the first concert conducted by their new artistic director Lü Shao-Chia (呂紹嘉), in the first season fully programmed by him. Spotted among the bevy of musical VIPs is our very own Darrell Ang, who seems to have quite a following among the young students here (more on that in future posts).

As it is, audiences tonight were bowled over by the finely drawn-out performance: a highly spirited delivery that enthralled and moved in such a way that only a well-prepared concert of Mahler can give. Filling up the program was the world premiere of I-Uen Wang Hwang's Diptych of Taiwan which made-up the first half: it was a delightful tonal portrait of sunset at Gaun-Yin Mountain and the annual Ma Zu parade.

Lü's experience is marked by many years spent at the Komische Oper Berlin, as well as appearances in the opera houses of Sydney, ENO, Brussels, Hamburg and Stuttgart. With such a wealth of experience in opera, one would hope for more adventurous programming of vocal music.Elektra and Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn is already on this season's program, but the one I'm most looking forward to attending is Britten's gargatuan War Requiem (check out the Events Page). It certainly looks like an exciting season ahead!


  1. Lü Shao-Chia conducting of Mahler's 5th was magnificient! The NSO deserves the recognition as one of the finest orchestras in the Asian Pacific basin. I am particularly looking forward to Strauss's Elektra. The emotional intensity of this monumental score is unparalleled. And arguably the most demanding opera ever written for female voices. This adventurous season further advances the NSO's international standing. I will certainly be making the trip again to Taipei.

  2. The NSO's Mahler with maestro Lu Shao-Chia was world class! The magnificient clarity of perfomanance was as good as you would hear anywhere! Look forward to upcoming Elektra with Claire Primrose, the Australian soprano singing the title role with other international artists.

  3. The Taipei Elektra was a magnificent concert. The NSO conducted by Lü Shao-chia and the singers were given a prolonged, well-earned standing ovation. Lü Shao-chia conducted with unflinching command and passion from the opening bars to the climactic end. In the title role, Australian soprano, Claire Primrose was a revelation with her superbly sung and intensely emotional characterization.

  4. The hightlight of the season! Under the new artistic director Lü Shao-chia, the NSO excelled in Strauss;s powerhouse opera. To bring together the large scale musical forces and to find three women who can sing the pivotal roles is no mean feat even for the big international opera companies. The orchestra and the singers were a unified musical force and produced a never to forgot evening of music making. Claire Primrose's Elektra was a thrilling, spine-tingling performance. Her high notes cut powerfully through the dense musical passages with relative ease and the 'recognition scene' was sung with poignant lyricism. Victoria Livengood's Klytämnestra and Danielle Halbwachs' Chrysothemis more than satisfactorily completed the trio of Elektra women. An extraordinary performance by the NSO and singers.

  5. YouTube clip of Claire Primrose's amazing Elektra.


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