Korean opera star to wail at Hanoi outdoor concerts

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Hanoi's outdoor classical concert series Luala returns this Sunday with a South Korean opera star and choir.

The Luala Fall-Winter Concert, the fifth edition of the biannual series, will be held every Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at its usual venue outside the Music Publishing House at 61 Ly Thai To Street, opposite the capital's Opera House.

The free and open concert will feature a large orchestra of stringed instruments and horns, said the organizers in a statement.

Luala artists have spent months practicing 19th century symphony pieces including the 1882 waltz "Voice of Spring" by Austrian composer Johann Strauss II and "Rondo Capriccioso," one of the most popular pieces by French composer Saint-Saëns. The show will also include "Gypsy Airs" written in 1878 by Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate, and "Élégie" (Elegy) by French composer Gabriel Fauré, which was originally a cello and piano piece.

The concerts will be joined by many first-timers, as well as established performers from the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, the Hanoi Opera House and the Vietnam National Academy of Music, besides guest artists.

Opera tenor Park Sung Min, who has won international acclaim, will perform festive pieces with a choir of 25 Koreans living and working in Vietnam at the series' closing show Sunday, December 22, while other weekends will feature Vietnamese guests. Celebrated contemporary singer Tung Duong will perform the first Sunday, concert pianist Trang Trinh, who has won many awards from the Royal Academy of Music at the University of London, will play the second Sunday December 8, and crooner Quang Dung will play the third Sunday December 15 alongside vocalist Pham Thu Ha.

A stringed instrument performance will be held on December 14 at Eco Park in Hung Yen Province around 13 kilometers to the southeast of Hanoi center, following the success of a similar show during the previous edition in May.

The first Luala concerts were offered in November 2011 as part of a community project to bring music to the public for free, and they have delighted Hanoi residents. 

Do Ngoc Minh, chairman of luxury-brand distributor, DX Group, initiated the concerts after attending several street performances abroad.

"In an opera house, the audience has no choice but to sit quietly in their place to listen to the music even though they might not like it, but at such outdoor concerts, the artists must show off all their talent to attract the audience," Minh said.

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