2006 Hong Kong Arts Festival

October 18th, 2005

The Hong Kong Arts Festival today announced details of the 2006 Festival.  Over five weeks from 9 February through 12 March 2006, the Festival will present a total of 106 performances of 48 different programmes featuring 40 performing groups - 30 from overseas and 10 local - with five exhibitions.  An array of exceptional artists from around the globe will participate in the Festival, including approximately 1,000 overseas and over 300 local performers and crew members.

Mr Charles Lee, the Festival's Chairman said, "I am proud to introduce the 34th Hong Kong Arts Festival 2006, an annual celebration of the arts which has become a major event in the Hong Kong cultural calendar and in the Asia Pacific region".  He added, "The Festival is a showcase for the best international and regional artists as well as the creativity of our own artistic community in Hong Kong.  The many world-class performances and presentations this Festival offers will be a great attraction in promoting Hong Kong internationally as a truly cosmopolitan and culturally vibrant international city."

Mr Douglas Gautier, Executive Director, remarked on the planning for the coming Festival.  He said, "One of the aims of the 2006 Festival was to present some of the world's best performing ensembles in work which showcases them at the peak of their powers".

The Festival will present a superb production of Don Giovanni from the Semper Opera Dresden and Opera Nuremberg, to celebrate Mozart's 250th birthday.  There will be more Mozart programmes in our chamber music series and orchestral concerts from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Ensemble Wien-Berlin.  These will be supplemented by two intriguing Mozart exhibitions of his life and works. 

International artists love to be part of this Festival, and this year the Festival has been honoured with the exclusive first-run rights of three productions outside the artists' home bases.  The first of these is the highly acclaimed National Theatre of Britain's production of Alan Bennett's multi Olivier award winner - The History Boys.  This production has been the National Theatre's most successful play ever, and will premiere internationally at the Festival in an exclusive season before it goes to Broadway.  The second is the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre production of 'Cursive: A Trilogy', the unprecedented complete staging of three gems together, which the celebrated Lin Hwai-min put together between 2000-2005.  The third is the U-Theatre and the Shaolin Temple Wushu Training Centre's exceptional production of A Touch of Zen, a theatrical spectacle of kung-fu, drums, music and drama.

This is a Festival that also welcomes international, living, cultural 'treasures' - for example, Elisabeth Leonskaja (the revered pianist from Georgia), Michael Tilson Thomas (the legendary American conductor leading the San Francisco Symphony), Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (the ground-breaking choreographer from Belgium), Lin Hwai-min (dance guru from Taiwan) and Eva Yerbabuena (flamencO's first lady from Spain) - as well as some of our own Hong Kong 'living treasures' such as contemporary composer Doming Lam (celebrating his 80th birthday) and the 'maestro of theatre' Chung King-fai.  There will also be a number of tributes to such artists as Ray Charles from John Scofield, and Antonio Carlos Jobim from Paquito D'Rivera and New York Voices.

The Theatre component is particularly exciting.  Aside from the National Theatre production of The History Boys and A Touch of Zen, in which Taiwan's U-Theatre meets the Shaolin kung-fu masters, there is Nora, the re-working of Ibsen's classic A Doll's House in an astonishing piece of work by Germany's most outstanding director of his generation - Thomas Ostermeier.  In addition there is the premiere of a home grown musical from the Actors' Family - The Legend of the White Snake - another Arts Festival commission; powerful performances from Chung King-fai and Sheren Tang in The Unexpected Man, a witty psychological drama from the Tony-winning playwright Yasmina Reza; and veteran performer and critic Andy Ng's unique theatre piece Ending the World.

For this Festival there are four programmes which will especially appeal to family audiences - Beauty and the Beast from the Birmingham Royal Ballet, a sell-out Christmas treat from the UK; Circus RonaldO's hilarous La Cucina dell'Arte; the UK's red hot quartet, Red Priest, playing period music with scintillating stagecraft; and a recital from local pianist Lio Kuok Wai.

Also worth looking forward to are the collaboration of our own Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, under Edo De Waart, and the magnificent City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, under Simon Halsey, in performances of Mahler's Symphony No 2 and the ethereal Requiem by Faure.

The Festival is also addressing a crucial issue facing traditional Chinese opera: do we have a new generation of artists   Locally, the Festival has created a new project with new stars, hand-picked by Maestro Yuen Siu-fai, aiming to recognise new talents and preserve the essence of traditional Cantonese Opera.  From the Mainland, the new generation of lao sheng and dan performers, Wang Peiyu and Liu Zheng respectively, will showcase their prowess in a thematic operatic series of 'The Artistry of Gender Switching', alongside actress Koi Ming-fai - Hong Kong's paragon in the art of gender switching.

Additionally, there are a wide range of 'meet-the-artist' sessions and background talks in the Festival Plus programme.

The total operating budget for the 2006 Festival is approximately $61 million.  The Festival received a subvention of $15.73 million from the Government, through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and a $3.61 million donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.  In order to break even, the Festival hopes to raise approximately $13.8 million through sponsorships and donations, and close to $28 million through ticket sales.

The Programme & Booking Guides are available at all URBTIX outlets from 19 October 2005.  The Festival has produced a CD Sampler with 15 selected audio tracks from the music programmes of the forthcoming Festival.  The audience can catch a glimpse of some of this year's video and audio highlights on the Festival web site, or request a free VCD/CD-ROM/CD or a CD sampler available by returning the request form in the Programme & Booking Guide. Limited edition. First-come, first-served.

Advance Bookings for the 2006 Hong Kong Arts Festival will be accepted by post, fax or on the Festival web site from 19 October through 26 November 2005, while Counter Bookings will start on 3 December 2005.  URBTIX Registered Patrons can call 2734 9011 to book Festival tickets from 19 October.  Patrons can check in the Programme & Booking Guide or visit the Hong Kong Arts Festival web site at www.hk.artsfestival.org for more details.  (The Hong Kong Arts Festival web site has just won the Standard of Excellence Award in the 2005 WebAwards Competition by the Web Marketing Association, USA. This is the 10th award it has won in various contests.)

For further enquiries, please contact Ms Katy Cheng, Marketing Manager, at tel: 2828 4930 or the following Marketing staff members:
Music/Opera                                             : Mr Andy Yau             (andy.yau@hkaf.org)
Chinese Opera/Theatre/Dance/Exhibition    : Ms Chris Lam            (chris.lam@hkaf.org)
Family Entertainment                                 : Ms Alexia Chow        (alexia.chow@hkaf.org)


Back to Press Releases

Programme Finder