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Unsuk Chin’s Operascope receives its North American premiere with Esprit Orchestra and Alex Pauk on January 24, 2024. The work also travels to São Paolo in February, and Cologne and Paris in April.

Unsuk Chin’s new orchestral work Operascope is given its North American premiere on January 24 with Canadian contemporary ensemble Esprit Orchestra and conductor Alex Pauk at Koerner Hall in Toronto. Operascope—which received its world premiere with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester and Kent Nagano on November 6, 2023—is unveiled in South America with the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra and Thierry Fischer (February 23). In April, Chin’s new work travels to the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln (April 4) in Germany before making its French debut with the Orchestre de Paris (April 17-18), both performances led by conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada.

The nine-minute work—co-commissioned by the Bayerische Staatsorchester, Esprit Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Sao Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, and Tongyeong Festival—traces the history of opera, with references to the works of legendary opera composers such as Verdi, Puccini, Berg, and more.

Unsuk Chin frequently turns to music of the past for inspiration, as seen in works like the Beethoven-inspired concert opener subito con forza; her Piano Concerto, with influences from piano literature epochs dating back as early as Scarlatti; and Frontispiece, which imaginatively interweaves references to key symphonic works by Bruckner and Webern.

The composer describes Operascope: “The work refers to the history of opera. It bears a certain similarity to my works Frontispiece and subito con forza, as it plays with allusions to music history (although not with quotes that are true to the score). The idea of opera as a ‘powerhouse of emotions’ played a role in the writing of this work.”

Esprit Orchestra has premiered several of Chin’s works in Canada over the last decade, including SPIRA - Concerto for orchestra, her Cello Concerto with soloist Joseph Johnson, Chorós Chordón, Mannequin, Graffiti, and her Double Concerto with percussion soloist Ryan Scott and pianist David Swan. In an interview with Ludwig van Toronto, conductor Alex Pauk describes Chin’s music: “Her writing is exquisite and sure and detailed.”

> Watch Esprit Orchestra give the Canadian premiere of SPIRA - Concerto for orchestra

Concert Information
Wednesday, January 24 at 8pm ET
Koerner Hall, The Royal Conservatory of Music | Toronto
More info

Esprit Orchestra
Alex Pauk, conductor
Naomi Sato, Sho
Zhongxi Wu, Sheng/Suona

MISATO MOCHIZUKI Nigredo (North American Premiere)
UNSUK CHIN Operascope (North American Premiere)
RITA UEDA Birds Calling...From the Canada in You

>  Further information on Work: Operascope

Photo: Priska Ketterer

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