The 42nd Hong Kong Arts Festival 2014 Advance Booking starts 10 October

October 08th, 2013

(Hong Kong, 8 October 2013) Today the Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) announced details of the forthcoming 42nd HKAF 2014, to be staged in 15 venues from 18 February to 23 March. Featuring 55 international and local ensembles or solo artists, there are 138 performances in total, two of which are free performances by the Trisha Brown Dance Company. [Please refer to the statistics factsheet for details]

“I am very pleased to join the Festival team to introduce the 42nd HKAF. Since I took the chair a year ago, we have been taking a longer term view of possible future developments, and the Festival’s funding on a sustainable basis. Given that we need plenty of lead-time to secure major programmes, we need to secure funding earlier so that we can continue to deliver the high quality performances that Hong Kong community have come to expect.

The Festival now goes beyond presenting local works and invests in local talent by working closely with writers, composers, choreographers and performers to produce original works on the Festival platform. This level of engagement is an indication of the Festival’s deep commitment to local arts development. The extensive PLUS activities and a whole range of highly subsidised events specially curated for Young Friends also demonstrate our commitment to the future of the arts in Hong Kong.” (The Hon Ronald Arculli, Chairman of the Hong Kong Arts Festival)

“The 42nd HKAF brings together a glittering programme that continues to reflect the diversity of our city. There is enduring classical repertoire, as well as newly-minted work meeting an audience for the first time. We continue the New Stage Series, in which we commission, produce and publish new work of Hong Kong’s creative talent, and this year we include our first English drama production FILTH in the Series. Regionally, our Asia Pacific Dance Platform (APDP) continues to embrace dance talent from neighbouring areas and the co-commissioned production of 108 HEROES III re-unites artists from Shanghai, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

This Festival is filled with heroes: in the characters on stage, in heroic journeys in music, played and sung; and creative giants who are heroes of the dance. The ‘hero’ motif is also a tribute to all artists, audiences, partners, stakeholders and those behind the scenes who make the Festival possible.” (Ms Tisa Ho, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival)

The budget for the 42nd HKAF is estimated to be $102.5 million, with a subvention of $33.18 million from the Government through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and a donation of about $10 million from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. Projected revenues are estimated at nearly $21 million in sponsorships, donations and other revenues, and about $38 million in ticket sales.


Heroes and legendary figures take centre stage in this HKAF’s roster of Western and Cantonese operas.

From Finland, the Savonlinna Opera Festival brings to Hong Kong Richard Wagner’s fairy-tale opera, Lohengrin. The story of the swan knight and the eternal quest of love and redemption are reimagined in the production by German director, Roman Hovenbitzer. As part of the bicentennial celebration of Wagner and Verdi, the Savonlinna Opera Festival Choir presents a gala of classics and rare gems from the German and Italian canon. 

Commissioned by HKAF, Berlin-based composer Jeffrey Ching’s new chamber opera, Before Brabant, is a fascinating prequel to Wagner’s Lohengrin. The world premiere concert performance of Ching’s new work joins homegrown talents with international artists.

Pina Bausch’s choreography brings Christoph Willibald Gluck’s affective score to new dramatic heights in her signature dance opera, Iphigenia in Tauris. With the combined forces of her dance company, superb singers, chorus and Hong Kong Sinfonietta, this rarely staged performance is a timely tribute to the 300th anniversary of Gluck’s birth.

In Cantonese opera, esteemed veteran artists and artistic advisors, Yam Bing-yee and Lam Kar-sing , coach emerging talents in two classics - The Gilded Fan, a romantic opera by the legendary Tong Tik-sang and Wu Song the Tiger Killer, a martial drama by Lee Siu-wan.


Leading orchestras and soloists from Europe’s concert circuit illuminate the 42nd HKAF. The Festival Opening sees Markus Stenz and Guerzenich Orchestra Cologne in collaboration with clarinet virtuoso Sabine Meyer. The London Symphony Orchestra returns to Hong Kong with Principal Guest Conductor Daniel Harding, featuring the dynamic performance of star pianist Yuja Wang. Legendary pianist Maria Joao Pires joins the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in music by Chopin and Schumann. The Budapest Festival Orchestra performs a colourful programme of symphonic classics by Mozart, Beethoven and Bruckner under the baton of co-founder Ivan Fischer. Renowned for its youthful and dynamic approach, the Lucerne Festival Strings plays two concerts featuring Artistic Director Daniel Dodds and Hong Kong soprano Louise Kwong as soloists.

An array of established international artists takes the stage this year. Leonidas Kavakos performs his acclaimed Beethoven’s violin sonatas with concert partner Enrico Pace. A worthy successor to the great Wilhelm Kempff, John O’Conor plays his signature Beethovenian repertoire in two recitals. Legendary Argentine organ virtuoso, Hector Olivera, brings a feast of great music and bravura performance. The superb a cappella group Anonymous 4 enchants Hong Kong audience with songs from medieval France and early America. Multiple award-winning Baroque ensemble Il Giardino Armonico performs music by Vivaldi and his German contemporaries.

The Festival continues its tradition of presenting emerging international and local musical talents. Among them are Russian pianist Yulianna Avdeeva, winner of the 16th International Chopin Piano Competition; 21-year-old Korean violinist Hyeyoon Park in her debut recital with German pianist Florian Uhlig; baroque ensemble Cordevento playing popular music from the 17th century. Local pianists Colleen Lee and Wong Wai-yuen are featured in Magic Piano & The Chopin Shorts, delightful animations with live music from the Oscar-winning producers of Peter & the Wolf. Commissioned by HKAF, five homegrown composers showcase their new works in Images of Hong Kong, a concert inspired by the poetry of Leung Ping-kwan (Ya Si).

On the home front, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta presents British star pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, in Britten’s powerful Piano Concerto. The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra continues its eighth episode of Music about China with existing and commissioned new works for zhongruan and guitar.


Award-winning jazz singers Gregory Porter and Madeleine Peyroux meet Hong Kong audience for the first time with their soulful renditions of classics and original songs. Mercury Prize winner Sam Lee has revolutionised the UK folk scene and redefines the sound, sight and texture of folksong today. Mixing jazz with global influences, Cuban-born pianist Roberto Fonseca presents YO concert, an epic work at the crossroads of jazz, soul and the traditional music of Cuba and Africa. Last but not least, the legendary John McLaughlin returns to Hong Kong with The 4th Dimension since his sold-out concert in 2009.


Celebrating the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, HKAF presents three Shakespearean plays with a modern twist. The struggles of flawed heroes are depicted in African Tales by Shakespeare, a provocative production from the Nowy Theatre. Tom Morris, director of the Tony award-winning play War Horse stages A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a new collaboration between Bristol Old Vic and Cape Town’s Handspring Puppet. China’s foremost director, Tian Qinxin, transplants the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet to a Chinese town during the Cultural Revolution.

Yael Ferber’s blatantly erotic Mies Julie and Amir Reza Koohestani’s quietly intense Amid the Clouds are both powerful plays set in exotic locales. Crossing between magic show and theatre, Bullet Catch, directed and performed by Rob Drummond, promises an unusual theatrical experience which keeps audiences on the edge. Actor-director Wu Hsing-kuo reunites with novelist Chang Ta-chuan and rock star Chau Wa-kin in 108 Heroes III.

The New Stage Series continues with four remarkably diverse new works, each focusing on one aspect of our society: Red Chamber in the Concrete Forest, Iron Horse, Girl Talk, and FILTH, the first English play commissioned and produced by the HKAF.


This year’s ballet showcases the sumptuously staged all time classic, Giselle, by La Scala Ballet, and Scottish Ballet’s riotous Highland Fling, an adaptation of La Sylphide directed and choreographed by the multiple award-winning choreographer, Matthew Bourne. From Russia, the ballet-trained dancers of Igor Moiseyev’s State Academic Ensemble of Popular Dance thrill audiences with spectacular choreography and irresistible music.

In modern dance, creative giants who strived to push the envelope of their own arts deserve a heroic salute. As a valedictory tribute, the Trisha Brown Dance Company showcases the iconic works from the brilliant four-decade career of its founder. The striking genius of Ji i Kylian is reviewed in an evening of works, featuring his latest work Last Touch First, choreographed with Michael Schumacher, and the dance film Car Men. Performed by his eleven-strong international company, Akram Khan’s iTMOi (in the mind of igor) exhibits primal energy and vibrancy reminiscent of Stravinsky’s controversial composition, The Rite of Spring. Nordic Waves invites a first viewing of the ingenious creations by two female Scandinavian choreographers, Elina Pirnen and Gunilla Heilborn.

The Asia Pacific Dance Platform continues with works by three choreographers/dancers from Korea, India and China. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series presents the commissioned works of five gifted local choreographers, each accompanied by original music.


Growing by the year, Young Friends continues to nurture the artistic temperament among young people in Hong Kong. Every year the sheer variety of what is on offer is matched by the number of young audiences who show their increasing interest and involvement in the Festival.

A member of Young Friends has a whole range of stimulating activities in store. Apart from attending selected rehearsals and performances, members are offered tailored-made Young Friends specials, with customised educational booklets to supplement additional information about the performances and the art-forms to the members. Young Friends members enjoy privileges to participate in meet-the-artist sessions, workshops  and lecture demonstrations by local and international performers, and the opportunity to interview artists in person, to name but a few.

In addition to their usual activities, the Young Friends Mentorship Programme engages current members in inspiring discussions with Young Friends Alumni and budding local artists. Young Friends members can also participate in arts administration training programmes during the summer to get more insights about the cultural industry.


Topping off the impressive list of live performances, Festival PLUS offers audiences an exciting range of activities that enhance their Festival experiences. The 2014 PLUS programme features the screening of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake in 3D, as well as recorded performances of Wagner’s operas, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg and Tannhauser. The Contemporary Dance Forum invites open discussion between international and local dance practitioners. Eminent Irish pianist John O’Conor brings a condensed version of his late teacher, the legendary Wilhelm Kempff’s Beethoven Interpretation Course to Hong Kong. Details of the full programme, including masterclasses, workshops, backstage tours and more will be announced in early December.


The Programme & Booking Guide is now available at all URBTIX outlets.

Advance Bookings for the 42nd HKAF will be accepted by fax, post, via HKAF App or on the Festival website ( from 12:00am on 10 October to 11:59pm on 29 November 2013. Audiences can enjoy up to 15% discount on their booking during the Advance Booking period.

Available for download via iOS or Android platform, 2014 HKAF App continues to provide quick access to ticket bookings during the Advance Booking period. Advance Bookings via mobile devices can also be made via the Festival’s mobile website (  

During the Advance Booking period, audiences can also enjoy a 6- or 12-month interest-free period for purchasing Festival tickets in instalments with the Master, Visa and co-branded/Affinity cards of Bank of East Asia (BEA). This applies to each booking of over HK$2,000, after subscription discounts.

Audiences in Guangdong Province enjoy the convenience of cash on delivery ticketing service. Using credit cards for bookings, patrons from other provinces in China can opt for delivery of their tickets by courier.

Counter Bookings will start on 7 December. Patrons can book their tickets at URBTIX (online at, by phone (852) 2111 5999 or at URBTIX outlets.)


Launched in 1973, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is a major annual international celebration of the performing arts and one of the region’s premier cultural events, held in February and March each year, serving an audience of 150,000. Performances take place in over a dozen venues throughout Hong Kong, supplemented by over 100 Festival PLUS events; and 10,000 Young Friends are given special access to Festival performances and events. The Festival presents the world’s top artists as well as stars of tomorrow and gives equal importance to great traditions and contemporary creations. The Festival also commissions and produces work in theatre, chamber opera and contemporary dance; some Festival productions have toured to other Asian cities after their Hong Kong premiere.


For further enquiries, please contact Ms Katy Cheng, Marketing Director, on 2824 3555 or:

Ms Wendy Chung (Opera and Classical Music)
Direct Line: 2828 4931, Email:

Ms Alexia Chow (Chinese Opera, Theatre and Dance)
Direct Line: 2828 4933, Email:

Ms Elly Yip (World Music, Jazz, Theatre and Dance)
Direct Line: 2828 4932, Email:



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