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The Opera Society of Hong Kong was established in 1992 by a group of dedicated singers and has celebrated its 20th anniversary in October 2012. The Society carries the mission to actively promote western opera, operetta and vocal music in the community in Hong Kong while maintaining an outstanding standard of performance. The Opera Society Chorus has been instrumental in enriching the cultural life of the community through the performance of a broad range of opera and choral repertoire.
With the vision of keeping abreast with world-renowned choruses, the Opera Society Chorus strives to attain a professional standard. Under the direction of Raymond Fu, Chairman of the Society and Chorusmaster, the Chorus has achieved a consistently high standard of performance and was described by the South China Morning Post as "Heavenly choir... the chorus limbers up for St. Matthew Passion, the highlight of RTHK's Easter series of early music...."
The performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at the Radio 4's Grand Millennium Concert was reviewed by the Hong Kong Economic Journal as "... most impressive, first-class singing which led to a very satisfying finale of the Concert." "The Messiah performed by the Chorus was excellent in both vocal technique and interpretation.... A performance of high standard... worthy of big applause."
The South China Morning Post commended on the Opera Society's 2011 performance of Donizetti's well-loved romantic opera L'Elisir d'Amore, "A stronger production all round, it's a big step forward for the troupe.... A notable strength is the impressively well-balanced, focused singing by the Opera Society Chorus."
The Opera Society places an emphasis on nurturing its members, who receive intensive training at rehearsals. Through their participation in opera and other productions, members also increase their understanding of the overall process of musical production and interpretation. In addition, through participating in various master classes with world-renowned soprano Barbara Bonney and conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos and others, members broaden their exposure to operatic and musical training.
Repertoire and Performances
Since its establishment, the Opera Society Chorus has performed in operas such as Otello, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor (1995 and 2012), Turandot, Aida, La Boheme, Carmen, Tosca, Il Trovatore, Madama Butterfly (2002 and 2009), Macbeth, Faust, La Fille du Regiment, L'Elisir d'Amore, Cavalleria Rusticana / I Pagliacci (2013), as well as operettas The Merry Widow, Die Fledermaus, and La Perichole (Le French May 2008); chamber opera Night Banquet; local contemporary operas The Divorce, and The Lamp of Everlasting Light. In December 1999, invited by the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra to join their 'Millennium Concerts' in Dongguan and Guangzhou, the Chorus made its highly successful debut in Mainland China.
The Opera Society Chorus has also worked with famous orchestras such as
St. Martin in the Fields and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and
performed Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky,
Bach's St. Matthew Passion, Mozart's Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Grieg's
Peer Gynt, Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, and the Film and Music
project Voices of Light / The Passion of Joan of Arc with the Anonymous 4.
The Opera Society Chorus has also been invited to sing at the Opera
Hong Kong's Inauguration Fund Raising Gala Concert in October 2003 and
opera Samson & Dalilah in 2004.
The Christmas Eve concerts by the Opera Society Chorus - "Messiah in the Park", "Season's Greetings in the Park," and "A World Christmas" - presented by RTHK Radio 4 at the Hong Kong Park in 2005, 2006, and 2008 have received high acclaims. In May 2002, the Opera Society Chorus recorded the CD "Fruits on the Tree," a collection of choral works by Hong Kong composers (Hugo Productions, ML-W3105).
The Opera Society engages in charity concerts and events and has co-organized the Rotary RainLily Project Fundraising Concert "From Opera to Musical" at the St. John's Cathedral in May 2007. The Society presented its 15th anniversary concert in November 2007, performing Haydn's Die Schopfung (The Creation) with orchestra and soloists and singing in German. In May 2010, the Chorus of the Opera Society of Hong Kong has performed with tenor Andrea Bocelli on his Asia tour stop in Hong Kong.
On 29 October 2012, the Opera Society of Hong Kong celebrated its "Opera Passion for 20 Years" at its 20th Anniversary Gala Concert at the Hong Kong City Hall.