HBSO announces two new programs

HCMC - The HCMC Ballet, Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO) has announced a major concert on Sunday April 25, and an evening entitled NeoClassic Ballet on April 10, both in the Saigon Opera House.

Meritorious Artist Tran Hoang Yen is one of the choreographers for HBSO’s NeoClassic Ballet program on April 10 – PHOTO: COURTESY OF HBSO

The ballet evening will have two old items and two new ones. The new items are entitled My Dream and In Your Black Eyes, while the items seen previously are falling Angels and Depaysement.

The choreographers are Julien Guerin, Nguyen Phuc Hung and Meritorious Artist Tran Hoang Yen. 

The concert on April 25 will feature three celebrities, the HBSO Director of Music, Meritorious Artist Trang Vuong Thach conducting, Meritorious Artist Bui Cong Duy as solo violinist, and Pham Vu Thien Bao as solo viola player.

It will feature three 19th century composers, Beethoven, Bruch and Brahms, in a program that is full to overflowing with attractions.

The evening will begin with Beethoven’s Egmont Overture. This was composed for German classic writer Goethe’s play of the same name about a famous fighter for national independence in the Netherlands.

Next will come Max Bruch’s Opus 88, a Double Concerto, that is to say a concerto for two soloists. Bruch originally wrote this work for clarinet and viola soloists, but it is often played by a violinist and viola player. This is the version we will hear on April 25.

The two soloists couldn’t be more distinguished. Meritorious Artist Bui Cong Duy is widely considered to be Vietnam’s premier violinist, while Pham Vu Thien Bao is certainly the leaving viola player in the country.

Bruch’s Double Concerto is rich in sonority and melody. Prospective patrons are advised to listen to it in advance on YouTube, where there is a magnificent video rendering by soloists Viktor Tretyakov and Yuri Bashmet. 

Bui Cong Duy has won innumerable awards and is currently based in Hanoi where he teaches specially-selected violin students.

Pham Vu Thien Bao originally studied violin but switched to viola after hearing some alluring music played on the instrument. He spent many years in Paris, studying viola and then performing in many European music centers, but returned to Vietnam in 2015.

After an intermission, the concert will conclude with Brahms’s magnificent Symphony Number 4. This is widely considered the finest of the composer’s four symphonies. It ends with a virtuosic “passacaglia”, a 17th century dance but here played by a full orchestra, and illustrating Brahms’s belief that the best of European traditional music can, and should, be incorporated into contemporary works.

The celebrated musicologist Donald Tovey wrote that this symphony was “one of the greatest orchestral works since Beethoven”, while a contemporary of Brahms, critic Eduard Hanslick, thought that it was “like a dark well; the longer we look into it, the more brightly the stars shine back.”

Ticket prices for this special event range from VND550,000 to VND1,000,000, with a special concession for students of VND150,000 on production of a valid student card.

Both events begin at 8pm.