2007 Hong Kong Arts Festival

October 24th, 2006

Today the Hong Kong Arts Festival announced details of the 2007 Festival. In ten different venues over a period of four weeks from 27 February through to 25 March 2007*, the Festival will present over 150 performances and events featuring 34 performing groups – 23 from overseas and 11 local – and two exhibitions. An array of exceptional artists from around the globe will participate in the Festival, including approximately 875 overseas and 556 local performers and supporting staff.

Festival Chairman Mr Charles Lee said "The Hong Kong Arts Festival has established itself as an annual celebration of the arts, a major event and a highlight of the cultural calendar both in Hong Kong and in the Asia Pacific region. It is an event that complements Hong Kong’s position as an international centre and cosmopolitan city."

Classics and Innovation

Building on 35 years of artistic excellence the Festival brings names to light up the imagination, classic as well as innovative work, well-loved favourites as well as new commissions. Opening the Festival this year is the first ever visit to Hong Kong by the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra with its Music Director Yuri Simonov. The Orchestra brings three nights of the great Russian classics selected from its most celebrated repertoire.

Puccini's best-loved classic opera, La boheme, was recently revived by the Welsh National Opera to critical acclaim. This masterpiece, with its supremely familiar and romantic music, will be sure to please music and opera lovers.

The Leipzig Ballet makes history, both for the Festival and for Hong Kong, in bringing with them both the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the soloists and choir of the Leipzig Opera in a sublime interpretation of Mozart's The Great Mass.

A unique revival of a great Chinese opera classic –The Peach Blossom Fan (1699), is made possible by the collective efforts of theatrical experts and scholars from China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. The production showcases the grandeur of traditional Chinese opera while introducing top-notch rising stars in kunqu. Meanwhile, Cantonese opera veterans Yau Sing-po and Law Kar-ying reassess the classic Beijing opera Stealing the Imperial Horse, with a new script and a dynamic interpretation.

New interpretations and innovative work are always a part of the Festival. Edward Hall will be bringing his all male Propeller company and their dynamic interpretations of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew; and the Festival is proud to present the Asian premiere of Tim Robbins' latest triumph, the gritty and edgy production of George Orwell's 1984.

In dance, two of the worlds leading exponents, Sylvie Guillem and Akram Khan will be exploring the boundaries between classical and contemporary dance, and what it means to be Sacred Monsters. In Hong Kong three generations of movers and shakers in contemporary dance, 16 dancers and choreographers in all, will create a summary of the city's history of contemporary dance in a special programme entitled My Life as a Dancer – the evolution.

New Commissions

Encouraging new work is a cornerstone of the Festival, and two of the Festival's commissioned theatre pieces – And Then There's You and Tian Gong Kai Wu – A Practical Guide to Imaginary Inventions – will add to the body of work created by Hong Kong's theatre talent. Given the important anniversaries celebration in 2007, both carry a strong sense of Hong Kong's history.

Since 1997, the Festival has pioneered the way in mounting international co-productions. Thus far, there have been 12, with 24 festivals, theatres and artists' companies, some of them still touring to great critical acclaim. This year an exclusive co-production is a creation by the National Theatre Company of China (Beijing) and New National Theatre (Tokyo), with co-writers and co-directors Oriza Hirata and Li Liuyi. The production, Lost Village, revolves around historic artefacts and concepts of history. It will mark our Festival anniversary as well as the 100th Anniversary of Drama in China.

Festival Stars

Other world luminaries participating in the 2007 Hong Kong Arts Festival include international divas Julia Migenes, Yang Guang and Christina Pluhar. Amongst the jazz and world greats are Joshua Redman, Dave Douglas, Chucho Valdes and Youssou N'Dour.

Hong Kong personalities and institutions are well represented. For this important milestone the city's major music ensembles, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta will all participate under the batons of their respective distinguished music directors. Eugene Pao will be joined by two other top jazz guitarists in the Asian Super Guitar Project.

Family Choices

For this Festival there are four programmes which will especially appeal to family audiences – Camut Band's Life is Rhythm, Amadinda Percussion Group's Around the World in 80 Minutes, Feria Musica's Le Vertige du Papillon and The Hong Kong Children's Choir making a special appearance to pay tribute to Hong Kong composers.

Additionally, there are a wide range of 'Plus' workshops, meet-the-artist sessions, background talks, youth programmes and other events in the Festival Plus programme. The Young Friends Scheme continues to be a strong dimension of the Festival's work in nurturing and stimulating interest in the arts among secondary school and university students.

Festival Executive Director Ms Tisa Ho remarked, "The Hong Kong Arts Festival has been an extraordinary part of Hong Kong's history. This is a role that we will continue to play as a major cultural event, commensurate with Hong Kong's global position as a cosmopolitan centre and a major Asian city."

The total operating budget for the 2007 Festival is approximately $63 million. The Festival received a subvention of $15.73 million from the Government, through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and a $3.84 million donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The Festival will raise approximately $15 million through sponsorships and donations, and close to $26.5 million through ticket sales.

The Programme & Booking Guides are available at all URBTIX outlets from 25 October 2006. The Festival has produced a CD Sampler with 12 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 or a CD sampler by returning the request form in the Programme & Booking Guide. Discs are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Advance Bookings for the 2007 Hong Kong Arts Festival will be accepted by post, fax or on the Festival web site from 25 October through to 2 December 2006. Subscribers who successfully book tickets to seven or more of the 2007 Festival performances during the Advance Booking period, have a chance to receive a collectible Cards Box Set containing memorable Festival images from the past 34 years!

Counter Bookings will start on 9 December 2006. 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 been selected as an Official Honoree of the 10th Annual Webby Awards. This is the 11th 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                           : Ms Michelle Wong (michelle.wong@hkaf.org)
Chinese Opera/Theatre/Dance : Ms Chris Lam (chris.lam@hkaf.org)
Family choices                        : Ms Alexia Chow (alexia.chow@hkaf.org)

* Two programmes, Kun Opera - The Peach Blossom Fan (1699) and Camut Band - Life is Rhythm, will open on 24 February, three days before the official opening.

Hong Kong Arts Festival web site is developed by Ion Global. The production of the VCD/CD-ROM and CD Sampler is sponsored by Edeas Ltd.


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