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From The New World @ The Opera House

Often referred to as simply the New World Symphony, Symphony No. 9 ”From the New World” in E Minor is one of the world’s most famous symphonies. Its popularity even compelled Astronaut Neil Armstrong to bring a recording of it aboard the Apollo 11 mission which culminated in human’s first Moon landing, in 1969.

Composed by Czech composer Antonín Dvořák in 1893, its title alludes to the varied influence the North American continent had on the musician. While in America at the end of the 19th Century, Dvořák was inspired by the Native American music and African American spirituals he heard as well as the physical spaces he encountered. The vast prairies and wide open spaces would have seemed quite astounding to an individual accustomed to the more confined European landscapes he was familiar with. The work does not contain any specific melodies from particular Native American or African American music but draws from their overall feeling and employs the pentatonic scale that both musical traditions frequently incorporate.

Symphony No. 9 was composed in rural Iowa while Dvořák served as the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America and it premiered in New York City on 16 December 1893. It was an immediate success at Carnegie Hall during its first performance and was quickly lauded across Europe. As of 1978, it had been performed more often than any other symphony at the Royal Festival Hall in London and remains popular across America, Europe and Asia today.

Trần Nhật Minh will be conducting for HBSO Choir & Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Symphony No. 9 ”From the New World” in E Minor, op. 95, B. 178 on May 2023 at the city’s famed Opera House. Minh holds degrees from the Magnitogorsk State Conservatory (Russia) and Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservator and attended numerous workshops in Russia, the Netherlands and USA. During his career, he has performed with the Chamber Chorus of Moscow’s Conservatory in Russia, France, Italy and elsewhere. In 2014, he won the Gold Award for the Southern Choir at the International Choral Festival organized by Interkultur in Hoi An and is currently The Head and Chorusmaster of the HBSO Opera.

Helping to underscore the breakthrough originality of the composition, the symphony will be performed after six different opera and operetta pieces written by luminary composers from Europe. Written and well-received at the same general time that Dvořák was working on his piece, the works by Verdi, Humperdink, Smetana, Borodin and Lehar will give audiences a taste of conventional music in the era so as to better appreciate how revolutionary Symphony No. 9 ”From the New World” in E Minor was at the time.

But more than serve as mere juxtapositions for Dvořák work, each of the six pieces is exemplary in its own right. Selected from enduring operas including Hansel and Gretel, Nabucco, Don Carlo and Igor, they give audiences a great view of popular European opera music from the mid to late 19th Century. Thus, by the evening’s end, listeners will have been transported through the Old World’s prized performance halls and across the Atlantic Ocean to experience some of the most stirring songs that continue to inspire people around the world today.

21st May 2023


The Opera House | 07 Cong Truong Lam Son, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, HCMC.