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Preview; ANNE-SOPHIE MUTTER Bridgewater Hall CHINESE STATE CIRCUS Lowry Centre.

Byline: by Joe Riley

FOLK think nothing of going to the MEN Arena to see Kylie.

And there's increasing evidence of classical music fans being equally prepared to venture to Bridgewater Hall for their kind of superstars.

Next up is the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, who as a teenage prodigy, was declared to be the best young musician since the Yehudi Menuhin.

It was not a piece of agent-spin from the torn-out page of a freesheet.

The compliment came from none other than Herbert Von Karajan, Simon Rattle's predecessor but one as conductor of the world's greatest symphony orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic.

Karajan was an austere, no-nonsense prima dona (not unlike his contemporary Leonard Besting in New York).

When Karajan occasionally said good he meant very good.

And now a discerning north west audience can make their own assessment, as Mutter makes her Manchester debut next Wednesday to perform not one, not two, but THREE Mozart violin concertos.

She will both play and direct (the London Philharmonic Orchestra) in Amadeus's first, third and fifth concertos for her chosen instrument.

Mutter, who was born in Baden Baden, Germany, and made her debut at the Lucerne Festival in 1976, says Mozart has always been a major inspiration.

"His music has always been present in my life," she says.

"I've never stopped thinking about his works, even when I have been playing contemporary repertoire.

"Without doubt, Mozart is the composer I have most grown up with, and I have always been trying to find new ways to approach his music."

Anne-Sophie Mutter's concert is part of the Bridgewater Hall's international series to mark the building's 10th anniversary year.

Also on Wednesday (until February 4) the Chinese State Circus is at the Lowry, Salford Quays.

The world's greatest acrobats join forces with the undisputed masters of martial arts to stretch the limits of human achievement.

Fabled characters from the Peking opera, including the Monkey King renowned in folklore, host the show which includes a dazzling spectacle of flying warriors, acrobatic terracotta soldiers and the sensation - wait for it - Woman of a Hundred Faces.

The artists have been selected from seven different troupes.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 25, 2007
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