Steve Moffatt, Daily Telegraph
Filling the giant shoes of Argentinian piano legend Martha Argerich is nothing new for 30-year-old US-based Chinese star Yuja Wang, but I doubt that many people in the audience were left disappointed by this last-minute substitution after she performed Beethoven’s first concerto and two barnstorming encores.
In fact the audience clearly wanted even more after she rattled off Arcadi Volodov’s variations on Mozart’s Rondo alla Turca — think Dave Brubeck meets Liszt — and Russian legend Vladimir Horowitz’s Carmen Variations on themes from Bizet’s opera.
And what they got in the second half was not more pianistic pyrotechnics but two wonderfully vivid orchestral showstoppers under the baton of the remarkable 80-year-old Swiss maestro Charles Dutoit, which were worth the ticket price alone.
Factor in the Australian premiere of a long-lost piece by a young Igor Stravinsky and this was a concert to remember indeed.
Wang showed considerable poetic restraint in the Beethoven concerto — the work that Argerich was to have played before she cancelled her Australian debut tour through ill health.
Possessed of a formidable technique with dazzling legato and dexterity, the young virtuoso is also a mature and sensitive interpreter, alive to the structure, nuances and inner voices of the work.