Last update: 16:50 | 12/03/2018
The Ho Chi Minh City Ballet and Symphony Orchestra (HBSO) has certainly come up with a rich banquet of concerts, ballets and opera performances for the delectation of its Saigon audiences in the rest of 2018.
The highlight may be a brand new opera production of Weber’s Der Freischutz (‘The Marksman’) on July 28 and 29. The German team of director David Hermann and conductor Askan Geisler will be in charge, as they were for Mozart’s Die Zauberflote (‘The Magic Flute).
The ever-popular Die Zauberflote is itself scheduled for another revival, this time on June 9 and 10, conducted by Tran Nhat Minh.
Even more welcome, if that were possible, is a revival of Johanne Jakhelln Constant’s extraordinarily beautiful production of Prokofiev’s ballet Cinderella on April 7 and 8. If there were a delicious Easter present, this is most certainly it.
Among the other highlights of a long program stretching from now to the end of 2018 is the return of violinist Stephane Tran Ngoc, performing Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No:1, with encores virtually guaranteed, under the baton of Mer. A. Tran Vuong Thach on May 9. His last appearance in the Saigon Opera House was given a rapturous review in Saigon Times on July 21 last year.
Also highly noteworthy, and coming later this month, is the appearance of Mer. A. Bui Cong Duy playing Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto, followed in the same program by Le Ha My playing Saint-Saens’s Cello Concerto, on March 17.
In anticipation of Der Freischutz, four items from the opera, the overture, two arias and a chorus, will be included in the program on March 29, of which the main item is Mozart’s final Symphony No: 41, all with the HBSO’s music director Tran Vuong Thach conducting.
As for dance, there is a major item after the intermission following Nguyen Manh Duy Linh’s symphony on May 19 called The Legend Lives On. The music is by Tran Vuong Thach himself, and the choreography by Vu Viet Cuong, Kim Quy, and the brothers Nguyen Phuc Hai and Nguyen Phuc Hung.
In addition there’s an evening of contemporary dance entitled Café Saigon on June 29 and 30, presented in collaboration with Gotra Ballet from the Netherlands.
What else? On May 27 Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite will be conducted by Fabien Tehericsen, best known as a jazz musician. And local composer Nguyen Manh Duy Linh will make the headlines with two major forays, his Symphony: Legend of ’68, to be performed on May 19, and his contribution to an otherwise all-Bach program, Concerto Grosso No:2 for Violin, Oboe and Strings, on August 9.
Then there will be Beethoven’s Symphony No:8 on July 19 and a reprise of Dvorak’s Symphony No:8 on June 14. This latter will be preceded by Dvorak’s hugely popular and ground-breaking Cello Concerto, with soloist Ngo Hoang Quan. The concert will be conducted by the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra’s Honna Tetsuji.
Finally, the Christmas special, The Nutcracker will see another outing on December 7, 8 and 9, to be followed by a Christmas Concert on December 19.
For a tropical city that isn’t even the national capital, this is a magnificent program indeed!