Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pittsburgh Orchestra to make Taiwan debut at World Games site with spectacular fireworks

By Nancy T. Lu

The Kaohsiung Main Stadium designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito for the 2009 World Games to unfold in July will be inaugurated at a special concert to feature world-class musicians and spectacular fireworks on May 20.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Manfred Honeck will debut on Taiwan soil on this happy occasion, playing a repertoire to include Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92” and “Symphony No. 9 in d minor, Op. 125 ‘Choral’ – Finale ‘Ode to Joy.’”

This will be the only trial run of the newly completed facility with the capacity to accommodate 40,000 people until July 16, when the Kaohsiung World Games will kick off, said Shih Che, director-general of the Bureau of Cultural Affairs under the Kaohsiung City Government.

The “1812 Overture” is famous for its volley of cannon fire. Bursts of creative fireworks will take care of this requirement during the performance in the open-air oval, said to have been built at a cost of NT$5 billion. Giant Show, the company behind the Taipei 101’s New Year’s Eve fireworks in the last five years, will be in charge of the pyrotechnics in Kaohsiung.

The choral section of the program will highlight the 400 voices of the Vienna State Opera Choir, the National Experimental Chorus, the National Sun Yat-sen University Music Department Women’s Chorus and the Kaohsiung Medical University Singers.

All systems will be tested on May 20. In fact, the necessary trial run will cover the traffic control, the ticketing network, the security system and the fireworks display, according to Shih.

The Main Stadium, which promises to be more than just a world-class venue for track-and-field events and soccer games, was constructed in two years’ time after Kaohsiung won the bid to host the coming World Games back in 2006. Its ecologically friendly aspect is notable in the solar panels on the roof capable of converting sunlight into about 1.1 million kilowatts of energy each year.

Tickets to the concert, which will be a historical event, cost from NT$290 to NT$3,000. For more information, go to the ERA website or call tel. 02-23419898.

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