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Polish pianist makes second appearance at Saigon Opera House

By Bradley Winterton

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HCMC – The young Polish pianist Joanna Marcinkowska will make a second appearance at the Saigon Opera House on November 12, following her concert with the HBSO orchestra the night before.

This time, it will be a solo piano recital, followed after the intermission by a duo with the Vietnamese viola-player Pham Vu Thien Bao.

First, she will play Chopin’s Nocturne Number 2, followed by his Scherzo in B Flat Minor. Next will come pieces by Ignacy Jan Paderewski, his Chants de Voyageur Numbers 1 and 2 and his Caprice a la Scarlatti Number 3.

Next will come Liszt’s Concert Paraphrase of Verdi’s opera Rigoletto, a quite extraordinary work.

After the intermission the pianist will be joined by a celebrated viola-player from Vietnam in Cesar Franck’s Sonata for Viola and Piano in A Major.

Verdi’s Rigoletto may be his most popular opera. It is enormously dramatic, but also enormously tuneful at the same time. The daughter of the hunchback clown, Rigoletto, is seduced by the Duke, Rigoletto’s employer. Rigoletto tries to get her back by showing her how promiscuous the Duke is, resulting in the famous Quartet. Liszt encapsulates this in an elaborate reverie, as if someone has returned home from the opera and is remembering in on his piano.

Cesar Franck was a Belgian composer who taught organ in Paris. His piano and viola sonata is actually an arrangement of the original piano and violin version, with hints from a piano and cello version incorporated. It is immensely tuneful and sensuous and a great favorite of all versions.

Pham Vu Thien Bao began life as a violin player but then switched to the viola. The viola was Mozart’s favorite string instrument.

Tickets are VND400,000 to VND750,000, with a special concession of VND80,000 for bona-fide students. The event begins at 8 p.m.

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