Gala Concert

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 April, 2009, 12:00am

Gala Concert
Opera Hong Kong
HK City Hall Concert Hall
Reviewed: Apr 3

This concert showcasing four up-and-coming mainland stars alongside young Hong Kong singers was an admirable example of opera made accessible and entertaining.

The evening got off to a rousing start with baritone Liu Songhu launching into Rossini's Largo al Factotum della Citta while striding down the aisle through the audience. It closed with an imaginative finale that brought all the soloists onto the stage for a triumphant group rendering of Puccini's Nessun Dorma.

Liu is a fine lyric baritone with a bright, ringing tone in the upper register, although the lower register sounded slightly strained. His charisma and vivid acting skills brought Rossini's wily Figaro to life in the opening aria and he gave a stirring account of Toreador from Carmen.

Soprano Sun Xiuwei's pure, powerful voice, superb acting ability and strong stage presence made it easy to see why she is so sought after on the international circuit. Verdi's Pace, Pace Mio Dio! was beautifully done, with a seamless transition from lyricism to drama, and Puccini's Un Del Di was exquisite.

The two less experienced mainland singers, soprano Yu Guanqun and tenor Wang Hongxing, have yet to refine and focus their sound, but both have big voices with tremendous potential.

It was encouraging to see a good showing by the home team with solid performances from the Opera Hong Kong Chorus and local singers. Highlights included soprano Yuki Ip's sweetness and warmth of tone and a delightful account of Mozart's La Ci Darem la Mano from Joyce Wong and Apollo Wong.