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Jing_Zhao

Cellist Jing Zhao performs with the Napa Valley Symphony under the direction of Maestro Michael Guttman in a Beethoven Extravaganza on April 14 at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville. 

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More than 200 musicians and singers return to the Lincoln Theater stage on Saturday, April 14, for a rare performance of Beethoven’s two most unusual and innovative works — the famed Triple Concerto and Choral Fantasy.

Maestro Michael Guttman and Symphony Napa Valley will be joined by cellist Jing Zhao, pianist Nikolay Khozyainov, and the combined voices of Sing Napa Valley, St. Helena Chamber Singers, and Napa Valley College Chorale under the direction of Ragnar Bohlin.

The Triple Concerto is regarded as a rare breed, a fascinating symphonic framework appealing in its melodic material and the intricate interactions of the soloists and orchestra. The work remains a favorite vehicle of the great Beethoven specialists

The Choral Fantasy unites the virtuoso display of a semi-improvisational solo piano with the vocal and instrumental richness of chorus and orchestra. There is a sense of impromptu in the Fantasy‘s long piano solo, which Beethoven wrote for himself and partly improvised at its first performance, and the choral melody sounds like a sketch for the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

The program opens with the mystical and hauntingly beautiful “Salve Regina” by Arvo Pärt. The full repertoire of the performance poses unusual challenges

The leading Chinese cellist of her generation, Jing Zhao won first prize at the ARD international competition in 2005. She studied with Yo-Yo Ma and Mstislav Rostropovich, and Seiji Ozawa chose her as soloist, together with violinist Vadim Repin, pianist Lang Lang, and Singer Kathleen Battle, for the opening New Year’s concert of the China Grand Theatre in Beijing.

Pianist Khozyainov dazzled Napa music lovers last season in Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. His engagements have included sold out performances at Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center in Washington, and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow.

Ragnar Bohlin is director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. The Symphony and Chorus, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, won three Grammy awards in 2010. That same year, the energetic Bohlin conducted at Davies Symphony Hall and made his Carnegie Hall debut.

Vocalists from Sing Napa Valley, St. Helena Chamber Singers, and Napa Valley College Chorale will join Symphony Napa Valley. The talent assembled by Guttman for this production, and the sheer number of artists on the stage, will make this concert one of the most impressive yet offered by Symphony Napa Valley.

Beethoven’s Extravaganza begins at 5 p.m. at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville. Tickets are $49, and children’s tickets are free. To reserve your seats contact the box office at 707-944-9900 or go to www.Lincolntheater.org.

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