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A class above

   
The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

The Star Online, 21 November 2005

CONCERT of Celebrations, YTL Corporation Berhad’s annual party is expected to take on both a local and international flavour for this year’s edition.?

Past concert celebrations by YTL have featured major classical and musical performers in the world such as the Three Tenors – Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras and Placido Domingo, tenor Roberto Alagna and soprano Angela Gheorgiu, and London West End musical star Michael Ball, among many others.?

This year, it would almost seem like YTL’s going back to its roots, by bringing in celebrated British crossover-classical tenor Russell Watson to sing for the masses.?

“Since 1994, we have chosen to celebrate our anniversary every year with a classical music concert for all Malaysians to enjoy,” said Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh, YTL’s managing director, during a press conference to announce the celebrations last Thursday.?


   
Cecilia Yap will be seen in Nuit d'Amour - Night of Love, an evening of operatic arias and ensemble works on Dec 16.

“YTL’s annual Concert of Celebrations have been our way of sharing the magical quality of music with the community.  

“This year, we have made plans to make this special tradition into a lavish affair like no other. Over a five-day period we will be organising musical extravaganzas, which will all be held at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac), of which YTL is one of three founding partners,” he added.  

Scheduled to start on Dec 13, four prelude concerts will be held at KLPac’s Pentas 1 from Dec 13-16 and will feature comedy, Christmas songs, an orchestra and pianist, as well as classical and operatic aria performances from local and international artistes. 

The grand finale will be an open-air extravaganza to be held at the newly completed Sentul Park, a 14-hectare (35-acre) green lung that anchors YTL’s Sentul West development. 

Renowned British crossover classical tenor Russell Watson, headlines the open-air gig. He will be accompanied by the critically acclaimed Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. 

Known in Britain as both the People’s Tenor and also the Salford Tenor, Watson’s story is a classic tale of a factory worker from the south of Manchester who propelled himself to international stardom. 

Mixing opera with pop classics and easy listening songs, he has sold millions of records, sung for the late Pope John Paul II, presidents, royalty and at highly charged football matches (the MU-supporting Watson sang at the Champions League final in Barcelona in 1999). 

Watson’s story began in the industrial North-West of England where he was born. The son of a factory worker, he became a factory worker himself, pursuing his passion for singing on the pub and club circuit in his spare time. 


   
British tenor Russell Watson will be performing alongside the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra on Dec 17.

A lifelong fan of Manchester United football club, Watson’s big break came in May 1999 when he was invited to the club’s football ground at Old Trafford to sing before the club’s Premiership-winning match that season. 

His star rose rapidly after that, and after signing a five-album deal with Universal Music’s classical imprint Decca Music Group, his debut album The Voice was released in 2000 to critical acclaim. 

From Sept 2000 to the end of 2001, he dominated the classical album charts in Britain with The Voice, spending a whopping 51 weeks at No.1 before finally being knocked off by his own follow-up effort The Voice – Encore

His two subsequent albums The Voice - Reprise and Amore Musica also topped the British classical album charts, and he is the first British male singer to simultaneously occupy the top of both the British and American classical albums chart. 

“We got a (former) construction worker to sing for us. (After all) YTL is a construction company,” Yeoh joked about this year’s choice of artiste.” 

As for the other choices for the celebrations, he added, “the artistes are chosen from a plethora of different sets of genres – the best in their area.” 

Admission to the outdoor concert on Dec 17 will be made free via a special nationwide balloting exercise starting today and ending on Dec 5. Ballot coupons will be available in all major dailies as well as via Internet at www.ytlcommunity.com

The other four concerts will also be free with details yet to be confirmed.


THE PROGRAMME 

Dec 13
Just Comedy

An evening of laughter and fun with Harith Iskander and friends. 

Dec 14
’Tis the Season

Seasonal production celebrates the spirit of Christmas with two presentations.

All female a cappella group LiT and the Selangor Philharmonic Choir will take you through an evening of Christmas songs. 

Dec 15
The Melbourne Grammar School Orchestra

The orchestra has toured China, Italy and Britain in recent years. This year, they will perform in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. The Kuala Lumpur debut will feature 16-year-old Sylvia Loh performing Edward Grieg’s Piano Concerto. 

Dec 16
Nuit d’Amour – Night of Love

An evening of popular operatic arias and ensemble works featuring some of Malaysia’s best classical and opera singers, including Chin Yong, Cecilia Yap, Angela Chock, Cha Seng Tiang, David Ngim, Tan Khar Gee, Peter Ong, Kee Loi Seng, Aw Yeow Hoay and Evelyn Toh. Taiwan-born Jessica Chen will be the guest performer. 

Dec 17
Russell Watson in concert with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.


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