Guildford Symphony Orchestra: Viennese Classics of Johann & Richard Strauss

7:30pm, Sat, 11 May 2024

  • Event Details
  • Type of event: Performance
    Start time: 7:30pm
    Venue: London Rd, Guildford GU1 2AA
    Description: Guildford Symphony Orchestra: Viennese Classics of Johann & Richard Strauss
    Don your finest frock and your sparkliest dancing shoes and join the GSO’s light-hearted summer frolic brought straight from the splendour of Imperial Austro-Hungary - a Viennese Whirl, if you will - in an all-Strauss programme that pairs that master of the lush late-romantic orchestra, Richard, with those two doyens of the 19th century ballroom, Johanns Elder and Younger.

    Getting this Summer Ball rolling is the much-loved, riotous Fledermaus Overture, famously featured (with an ending that literally brings the house down!) in the 1950 cartoon Tom and Jerry at the Hollywood Bowl. Following this Bat out of Hollywood is a suite from another Waltz-packed comic opera, Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier: a smash hit when it premiered in 1911.

    The same composer’s Four Last Songs provide a more sober interlude: written in the last months of his life, he poignantly did not quite live to hear his intended swansong performed. Although renowned for lavish orchestration, Lieder and Opera were core parts of his life from a young age, famously declaring “the human voice is the most beautiful instrument of all, but the most difficult to play”. He shows his mastery of both in a piece which has become a cornerstone of the repertoire, and the GSO is delighted to be joined by a rising star of the opera world to perform it, Chinese-born soprano Heming Li.

    Alongside opera, Richard Strauss was a leading exponent of the orchestral tone poem - pictures and stories ‘painted in music’ - and Don Juan is one of is most famous. His take on the notorious libertine is at once more extrovert and more sinister than, say Mozart’s Don Giovanni. A rich orchestra, and in particular the brass, are cleverly deployed in a score full of bombast, swagger and devil-may-care braggadocio - until the devil of course has the final laugh…

    Things get a lot sillier courtesy of Johann and Johann in a second half that might be described as Strictly Ballroom. The ‘Explosions’ and ‘Thunder and Lightning’ polkas will ensure things go with a bang, but all the old favourites are there including the beloved Blue Danube Waltzes.

    In keeping with the GSO’s policy of supporting youth music the concert is FREE for U18s (anyone still at school) and would be an excellent first classical concert for anyone of late primary-school age upwards.

    Soloist: Heming Li
    Chinese soprano Heming Li is a graduate with Distinction from the Royal College of Music, London. She was a KMEG Scholar and studies under the tutelage of Professor Justin Lavender at Royal College of Music. After her graduation, she continues to study with Marie Mclaughlin and Mario Diaz. She completed a master degree in music performance from University of Birmingham and completed her bachelor’s degree at the China Conservatory of Music. Heming is the winner of the 2022 International Concerto Competition and a finalist in the Croydon Concerto Competition and the International Festival of Operatic Singers “Maria Kraja.”

    Heming performed the role of Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute and Controller in Flight at RCM and Marguerite in Faust in Arcadian Opera. She performed Violetta in La Traviata and Donna Anna in Gon Giovanni in the 2023 season. She had collaborated with worldwide renowned conductor such as Kai Röhrig and Sergio Baietta. In addition, she had had the honour of performing for His Majesty King Charles III in concerts during his visit to RCM in November 2021.

    Don Juan R Strauss
    The Four Last Songs R Strauss
    Der Rosenkavalier – Waltzes R Strauss
    Die Fledermaus - Overture J Strauss
    Blue Danube Waltzes J Strauss
    Voices of Spring J Strauss
    Laughing Song J Strauss
    Tritsch-Tratsch Polka J Strauss
    Perpetuum Mobile J Strauss
    Kissing Polka J Strauss
    Explosions Polka J Strauss
    Radetzky March J Strauss

    Tickets can be purchased via here: