39th Hong Kong Arts Festival 2011 officially closes 95% of tickets sold 40th HKAF starts this September With Sam Mendes and Kevin Spacey in Shakespheare’s Richard III

March 28th, 2011

Having taken place over a six-week period between Thursday 17 February and Sunday 27 March 2011, the 39th Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) closes with a sultry evening of tango music featuring Ute Lemper and the Piazzolla Sextet.  

The Festival presented 228 ticketed performances featuring top international, regional, national and local talent to a total audience of over 154,000, which included Young Friends Scheme participants.  1,742 artists from 54* performing groups gathered for the Festival, featuring 14 world and nine Asian premieres.  The Festival saw 192 capacity houses, with attendance at another 14 performances well over 90%.  By popular demand 8 additional performances** were scheduled.  With over 140,000 tickets available at the box office, 95% were sold.

Mr Charles Lee, Chairman of the HKAF, said, “This year’s Festival has been the largest and most extensive to date. In addition to performances by top local and international talent in a diverse range of genres, there was a large scale outdoor event at the Kowloon Walled City Park, which has extended interest in the Festival to an even broader public audience, including over 10,000 Young Friends of the HKAF.”

Ms Tisa Ho, Executive Director of the HKAF, said, “The 39th Hong Kong Arts Festival has continued to invest in new work, celebrate great traditions and push the boundaries: from international superstar Cecilia Bartoli and Leipzig Opera’s monumental Tristan und Isolde to a New Stage Series; from classic Chinese opera to a hybrid rock music/Peking Opera co-production between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taiwan. The Festival’s wide ranging PLUS events offered additional opportunities for audiences to interact with artists and their works.”

Eight Festival commissions were featured at the 39th HKAF: 108 Heroes, Tales from The Water Margin; An Ordinary Man; My Shadow & Me and from the Asia Pacific Dance Platform; The Golden Lotus and Responses from Chan Chi-chun and Chan Chi-yuk’s dizi recital; and three programmes from the New Stage Series comprising of Jiao Qing, Recycling Times and Tree Rhapsody.

The Festival’s Young Friends Scheme continues to be popular amongst students this year with 10,314 members from 186 secondary schools and 37 tertiary institutions attending 56 events. Discount student tickets were in demand with around 8,000 made available, partly supported by the Student Ticket Scheme.

The Hong Kong Arts Festival PLUS has been fruitful for Festival-goers with 100 events in a plethora of masterclasses, lecture demonstrations, talks, workshops and meet-the-artist sessions. Some notable examples include a series of guided tours - investigating the relationship between sacred music and churches to celebrate the music of Johann Sebastian Bach – and a 3D interactive digital audio visual installation, Sketches of Utopia, visually representing Bach’s creative process; the Artists-in-Residence project featuring members from the Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB); and a series of films and documentaries to commemorate the visionary German choreographer and dancer, Pina Bausch.

Continuing for the fifth year, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust sponsored a special matinee for young people. Over 1,600 young people and students from 55 organisations and schools, who did not have the resources or opportunity to go to a formal performance, were invited to a performance of Hobson’s Choice by the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

The first HKAF iPhone app was released, and in social media, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube Channel helped to reach new audiences, increase awareness, and drive interest in the Festival.

The upcoming Festival begins this September! The unprecedented start for the 40th anniversary features the Academy-award winning collaboration between Sam Mendes and Kevin Spacey in a production of Shakespheare’s Richard III for the final installment of the three-year-long Bridge Project.  

Highlights of the 40th HKAF have also been announced.  The Festival will continue to run from 1 February to 8 March 2012, with programmes to include Bavarian State Opera’s Cosi fan tutte, the Royal Concertgebouw under the baton of Myung-whun Chung, Hamburg Ballet’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Ma Lianliang’s 111th Anniversary, Eight Cantonese Classic Cantatas, as well as two Festival commissions with plays by Cancer Chong and Paul Poon.

A major international arts festival and a premier arts event in the Asia-Pacific region, the annual Hong Kong Arts Festival is committed to presenting works of the highest artistic standards, featuring artists from around the world and leading artists from mainland China and Hong Kong.

For more information please contact the Festival’s Marketing Director, Ms Katy Cheng or Marketing Manager, Miss Alexia Chow at (852) 2824 3555.

* The Leipzig Opera, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and St Thomas Boys Choir (Thomanerchor) are counted as three individual performing groups
** 8 additional performances were offered for the following programmes: Festival Finale programme, Lost Tango; Music Nomads: Requiem for Flowers – Chet Lam x Shin Wong; Music Nomads: A.S. The Percussionist – Singing Hands – Arai Soichiro; and five performances of An Ordinary Man.


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