Together with the whole team, I am truly delighted to introduce the 45th HKAF, which takes place in a year which also marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong SAR.
This Festival is not only in Hong Kong, but it is of and for this city; proud to have been a part of its narrative over the last 44 years and to continue playing a part as the story continues to unfold. Despite its history and whatever may lie ahead in its future, this Festival must function in the ineluctable present. This inescapable condition of all human experience is expressed in the idea of being "In the moment" as a feature of this anniversary Festival. The idea is embedded in the narrative of the exciting classical and contemporary operas presented, and in major local and international theatre productions. It also informs the choice of repertoire in many music and dance programmes, including some which mark pivotal moments in times past and exhibit the values and aesthetics of the day, for us to enjoy and experience in our own time.
We open with a grand ballet classic which exemplifies 19th Century European Orientalism. The finale, a new opera sung in English and based on one of four great Chinese classical novels, may be regarded as an example of contemporary Asian Occidentalism. Though each is to be enjoyed on its own terms, the juxtaposition may add to a consideration of the complexities in the relations between West and East, in a world which has been proven to be round.
"In the moment" is an idea that is especially pertinent for the performing arts, in which months and years of preparation and anticipation come together in a moment for both performers and audiences. Being in the moment also speaks to an active appreciation, which the best performances can evoke and thereby make memorable.
One of the issues confronting HKAF at this very moment is a new funding model in which our reliance on donations and sponsorships is greater than ever before. We hope therefore to count on your support at this exceptional time.
On a more celebratory note, I am delighted to mention some very special activities that we will be organising throughout the year in various locations outside the usual venues. So do subscribe to our eNews and follow us on our e-channels for more information. In the meantime, please do book early for the wonderful array of programmes detailed here.
Thank you for your time and attention. My warmest thanks also go to all the wonderful artists joining us for the 45th HKAF. With them, and with the Festival team, I look forward to sharing many brilliant moments together with you.
Hong Kong Arts Festival