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Local orchestra to make audiences 'crazy about opera'

Hong Kong's Pan Asia Symphony Orchestra will give three educational concerts next month (December) to show audiences how to appreciate operatic works.

The concerts, "Crazy about Opera", will be held at the Theatre of Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre on December 16 (Friday), Theatre of Sheung Wan Civic Centre on December 17 (Saturday) and Theatre of Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre on December 18 (Sunday).

The programme includes arias from favourite operas like Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" and "Die Zauberflote", Verdi's "La Traviata" and "Rigoletto" and Puccini's "Turandot".

Conductor Jimmy Chiang will introduce the pieces in Cantonese when the orchestra plays with lyric coloratura soprano Anna Baxter Chiang.

Pan Asia Symphony Orchestra, founded by Dr Yip Wai-hong, is a highly organised orchestra that promotes music among the general public especially Hong Kong's younger generation. A number of internationally famous conductors and soloists have been invited to perform with it. By using the idioms of popular music and organising concert talks, the orchestra has successfully introduced serious music and Chinese orchestral music to the public and, at the same time, brought about an awareness of the indigenous culture of the people.

Jimmy Chiang started his piano training at the age of four and gave his orchestral debut at 13, under the baton of Dr Yip. At 16, the Hong Kong-born musician obtained a Fellowship Diploma in Piano from Trinity College, London and earned his Bachelor's Degree in Music at Baylor University where he studied with Krassimira Jordan. He was honoured by the Golden Key International Honor Society as Performing Arts Showcase Winner in 2002. The next year he studied with Maestro Seiji Ozawa. He was the recipient of the Barenreiter Urtext Preis at the 3rd International Competition for Young Choir Directors in Vienna in 2004.

Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, tickets priced at $50 and $80 are now available at URBTIX outlets, while senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients may have 50% off (limited quotas for CSSA recipients on a first-come, first-served basis). A 10% discount applies to Friends of LCSD performing venues.

For enquiries about the programmes, call 2268 7321 or visit . Ticketing enquiries and reservations can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at .

Ends/Thursday, November 24, 2005
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