Speech by Ms Tisa Ho (Executive Director, Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd) at the 2010 Festival Kick-off Press Conference

October 14th, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to join the Chairman in thanking you for your presence here today, and for your continued support.

It gives me great pleasure to share with you the complete line-up of programmes to be presented in the 38th Hong Kong Arts Festival, in 2010. In the course of 32 days starting February 25, there will be over 100 ticketed performances featuring some of the most exciting and celebrated artists working today.

A festival is about people coming together. With your help, I hope audiences will turn up in full strength; the talent and resources brought together in this Festival are truly historic.

We have the combined strengths of the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong bringing you the Festival Opening; the legendary Mariinsky Theatre and Maestro Gergiev bringing you ballet, opera and orchestral performances; a transatlantic collaboration of theatre talent giving life to William Shakespeare's The Tempest; and two all-new major Hong Kong productions with stellar teams of creative talent – The Truth About Lying by Wong Wing-sze, and a bold, large scale, crossover music theatre work, The Liaisons created by Fredric Mao. Danny Yung and Zuni Icosahedron join the Festival again, bringing you Flee by Night, an experimental theatre piece based on kun opera.

Across time and space, four divas pay tribute to the great Nina Simone, while Lin Zhaohua brings Lao She's stories to life. Also from page to stage, we have an irreverent and wickedly funny Animal Farm and a heartwarming and inspiring adaptation of The Arrival. And the screen classic On the Waterfront is re-enacted with imagination and powerful physicality.

We present six orchestras in the 38th HKAF: three visiting orchestras led by legendary conductors Christoph von Dohnanyi, Rene Jacobs and Valery Gergiev, and our own Philharmonic Orchestra, Chinese Orchestra and Sinfonietta with the trio of Hong Kong's Music Directors, de Waart, Yan and Yip.

In chamber music, we present great masters Mikhail Rudy and Andreas Scholl; rising stars Meta4 Quartet, Simone Osborne and Wong Chi-yan; plus performers who never fail to excite and entertain: Mark Latimer, Li Chuanyun and King's Harmonica Quintet. There is a wealth of jazz and world music, ranging from Argentinian tango and flamenco with attitude, to David Murray and his Black Saint Quartet, and Guy Barker's The Amadeus Project.

From the driving rhythms of Paganini at the IFC to the elegiac strains of naamyam in the tranquil Nan Lian Garden; listening to Chopin or Samson Young's electronic game music at former industrial sites in Quarry Bay and Kwun Tong; and with world music diva Sa Dingding at Star Hall in Kowloon Bay, this Festival is reflective of Hong Kong in its diversity and energy.

Some of the great artists presented in the Festival have already reached legendary status, others are newly emerging on the scene but already with strong reputations. What they all have in common is not only significant talent, but also a passionate engagement with their art, and their audiences.

This is an upbeat festival, with many productions informed by a sense of possibility based on strong personal conviction. The HKAF team has worked long and hard on programmes for the 38th HKAF. We look forward to sharing this with you at the Festival.

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