Wednesday, November 7, 2012

First stop: Macau

The San Francisco Symphony’s 2012 tour of Asia begins on the island of Macau, a 45-minute ferry ride from Hong Kong, with a performance at the prestigious Macau International Music Festival.  Macau was the last outpost of the Portuguese empire; it was established in the 1500's and became part of China in 1999, two years after the British handed over Hong Kong.  Even today, parts of Macau have a distinct Mediterranean feel, a colorful mix of baroque basilicas, cobblestone lanes, colonial mansions and grand squares.  But today, this fusion of east and west is centered around Chinese and international visitors coming to visit Macau’s glittering casinos, creating a self-styled Las Vegas of the East.  With gambling illegal in mainland China, it’s a big attraction. 

But the island is also betting on culture, presenting the Macau International Music Festival, now in its 26th year and one of the most prestigious music festivals in Asia.  The SF Symphony has the distinct honor of performing the closing night concert.

Upon arrival, the Orchestra was greeted with a barrage of anticipatory press, no finer example of which was the cover story in the South China Morning Post Review Section.  Excitement was running high.

South China Morning Post feature

MTT and Joshua Robison in front of Macau's iconic Ruínas de São Paulo

Lisbon meets China

Famed Macau jerky

MTT visits a Daoist Temple

More iconic Macau treats, Lord Stowe's famous egg custard tarts, enjoyed by
Joshua Robison, MTT, and Joanna Lee

Macau almond cookies annyone?

At the hotel, tour sponsor Galaxy Entertainment provides a rousing kick-off reception complete with cake cutting ceremony, featuring (l-r:) SFS Board Member Gorretti Lui, Macao Music Festival Director Warren Mok, representatives from GEG and the Macau Culture Ministry, tour soloist Yuja Wang, MTT and SFS Executive Director Brent Assink joining in the celebration.

Asst. Principal Violist Jay Liu, MTT, and percussionist Tom Hemphill

The cake before it went under the knife

MTT flanked by Orchestra Personnel Manager Rebecca
Blum and Tour Manager Joyce Wessling

The SFS performs the final concert of the 26th annual Macau International Music Festival in a program of Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 with Yuja Wang and Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 2.

The Macau Cultural Center
The concert has been sold out for two months and MTT and the Orchestra do not disappoint.  A stirring debut in Macau for the SFS. 

MTT with a radiant Yuja Wang after a powerhouse
performance of Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2

Hong Kong awaits !

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