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Gardiner leads his choir and orchestra for first time in HK

Sir John Eliot Gardiner will lead his Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists for the first time in Hong Kong since he founded the two groups 40 years ago. The concert will be staged in December at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. The performance is presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

The concert will include two of Purcell's works, "Masque of Neptune" (from "The Tempest"), and "Dido and Aeneas", with renowned vocalists Renata Pokupic and Ben Davies performing the title roles of Dido and Aeneas.

Music Director and Conductor, Gardiner appears regularly as a guest conductor all over the world. He has made more than 250 recordings, many of which have won international awards. Recently, he was named "Personnalite Musicale de L'annee" by the French Journalists' Union, and his production of "Les Troyens" was awarded the Grand Prix by the same organisation.

The Monteverdi Choir is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Formed by Gardiner for a performance of Monteverdi's "Vespers" (1610) in King's College Chapel, Cambridge, it is now one of the world's most prestigious choirs. It soon became famous for its passionate, committed singing, underpinned by a strong rhythmic vitality and the ability to switch composer, languages and idiom with stylistic conviction.

The choir has undertaken numerous trail-blazing tours - the greatest of which was the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000. Together with the English Baroque Soloists, the choir performed all 198 of Bach's sacred cantatas, in 63 churches throughout Europe, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer's death.

This year, the choir started with a tour to the US in January and continued with a European tour of Bach's "Mass in B minor" with the English Baroque Soloists under Gardiner. The Hong Kong performance is part of a wider Asian tour.

The English Baroque Soloists form one of the world's great chamber orchestras playing on period instruments. It has recorded all of the mature Mozart symphonies as well as the "Requiem and Mass in C minor" and the complete piano concerto cycle with Malcolm Bilson, the first on period instruments.

In 1990 a six-year project was launched to perform the seven mature operas by Mozart throughout Europe. The project culminated with the London performances in 1995 of Die Zauberflote. The recordings of the seven operas in this project have received outstanding critical acclaim since their release.

Invitations abroad have included such prestigious venues as La Scala, Milan, the outdoor amphitheatre in Pompeii, the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Chatelet Theatre in Paris, New York's Lincoln Center, the Sydney Opera House, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and St Mark's, Venice.

The concert will be staged at 8pm on December 9 (Thursday) at the Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets priced at $480, $380, $280 and $180 are now available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessions will be granted to senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients.

For programme enquiries, call 2268 7321; for ticketing enquiries and reservations, call 2734 9009; for credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999; for internet bookings, visit ; for more information, visit .

For information on box seats and lounge packages, please call 2268 7231.

Ends/Wednesday, September 8, 2004
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