The 47th Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2019
Advance Bookings start 11 October 2018

(Hong Kong, 9 October 2018) The Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) is pleased to announce details of the forthcoming 47th HKAF. Featuring over 1,700 outstanding international and local artists in 166 performances and over 340 complementary outreach and education activities, the Festival will run from 21 February to 23 March 2019. Programme and ticketing information will be detailed in our Programme and Booking Guide, available at major performance venues, and on the HKAF website,, from 6:00pm today. At 12:00am on 11 October 2018, Advance Bookings will open on the website, by fax and by post.

“In its 47th edition, the Hong Kong Arts Festival continues to expand and develop in terms of content, depth and even locations for performances, adding to the cultural vibrancy and sophistication of this city. Our mission, as always, is to add value to the arts and culture sector, and enhance the attractiveness, positioning and reputation of Hong Kong. During the five weeks of the coming Festival, world class international artists and ensembles will join local talent to provide an outstanding array of performances. In addition to great performances, there will be extensive ancillary programmes and events. We hope that all arts lovers in Hong Kong, whether resident or visiting, will join in the festivities and experiences offered in the 47th HKAF.

“Such promising development of the Festival would not be possible without the support of the Hong Kong community. I must thank the many corporations, individuals, and charitable foundations, among them our long-term partner The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, who enable us to serve Hong Kong with their generous contributions in the form of sponsorship and donations amounting to a very significant portion of the Festival’s annual income. I must also express appreciation to the Hong Kong Government for its continued support in the form of both recurrent funding and a matching grant, which matches income from private sector sponsorship and donations,” says Mr Victor Cha, Chairman of the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

“With the theme ‘At Every Stage’, the 47th HKAF presents artists at different stages of their careers: great masters as well as rising stars. We showcase different stages in the continued development of iconic repertoire and redefine the concept of stage in offering different ways to experience performances, some mediated by technology. On a human level, the theme allows us to investigate seminal stages in which lives are shaped: in the concept of home, in an extreme environment or in high stakes conditions. The ‘stage’ is both space and time, site and process,” says Ms Tisa Ho, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival.
[Please refer to factsheet for all statistics and programme information]



The 47th Festival features legendary artists and the masterworks they have created at the height of their respective careers, performed across stages in the international cultural scene. A major masterpiece by Richard Wagner, Tannhäuser was written in 1845 in the composer’s ‘romantic’ period and contained essential elements that led to his ‘music drama’ ideal. Fully staged in Hong Kong for the first time, the opera will be performed by more than 150 artists from Oper Leipzig and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig—the city where Wagner was born.

Filled with beauty, invention and energetic choreography, John Neumeier and his Hamburg Ballet are dance legends at every stage. Three thrilling programmes: The Nutcracker, re-set in the context of learning about dance; Beethoven Project, Neumeier’s ode to the composer’s beloved music; and The World of John Neumeier, a celebration of Neumeier’s creations from his four decades with the Hamburg Ballet, each one a milestone in a glittering career.

For almost five decades, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre’s world famous founder-choreographer Lin Hwai-min has brought Asian sensibility to the world stage through spellbinding dance. At the end of 2019, Lin will step down from his role as the company’s artistic director. This farewell gala highlights Cloud Gate classics that have mesmerized audiences across the globe.

Marin Alsopis a trailblazing conductor breaking the glass ceiling with her baton. Her seventh year as Principal Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra sees their Hong Kong debut with an exciting programme to kick off the 47th Festival. Another world-class maestro, Paavo Järvi of Estonia’s ‘first family’ of musicians (both his father, Neeme, and younger brother, Kristjan, are world-renowned conductors), makes a glorious return to Hong Kong after an absence of over 20 years, conducting Japan’s leading NHK Symphony Orchestra as their Chief Conductor. Following the rapturous reception of his HKAF concerts in 2018, Russian piano titan Denis Matsuev returns with an intimate, all-Tchaikovsky piano recital that demonstrates his towering technique and unparalleled lyricism.

The world-famous theatre visionary Robert Lepage performs on stage in Hong Kong for the first time with his unforgettable auto-fiction 887. A multi-layered tale about memory, identity and cultural history in 1960s Quebec City, the play is "touching, intimate, powerful" (The Guardian).

Every year, young artists also shine on the HKAF stage, making their Hong Kong debuts. Maxime Pascal, an up-and-coming conductor in his early 30s, was the first French winner of the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award in 2014 and has since conducted numerous prestigious European orchestras. He joins the Festival with the thriving French period-instrument orchestra, Les Siècles, and their stunning interpretation of an all-Berlioz programme. The young and seasoned performer Yekwon Sunwoo, the first Korean gold medallist at the Van Cliburn International Piano competition, will bring local audiences his “superbly assured pianism” (BBC Music Magazine). To showcase the piano mastery of the new millennium, Matsuev and Young Laureates Piano Gala features four wunderkinds discovered at Russia’s Grand Piano Competition, founded by Matsuev himself. All under the age of 16 when they entered the competition – 2018 Grand Prix winner Alexandra Dovgan was only 10 at the time of her award – these prodigies showcase the piano sounds of the future.


The 47th HKAF also presents iconic repertoire at different stages of interpretation, innovative artists that cross disciplines and original works that integrate new formats and technologies into their presentations.

Perfectly blending Chinese and Western cultural and musical elements, the opera Madame White Snake saw composer Zhou Long become the first Chinese winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2011. Theatre veteran Fredric Mao also redefines Cantonese opera aesthetics, further developing his fresh approach to script writing, acting, music and production on the ravishing classic Pavilion of a Hundred Flowers by Tong Tik-sang.

Chinese director Li Liuyi worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company under its ‘Folio Project’ to create an accessible new Chinese translation of Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet. This exciting modern version will be produced by a world-class creative team and performed by a stellar Chinese cast, including Pu Cunxin and Hu Jun.

Cuba’s ‘Havana Divas’ (Caridad Amaran and Georgina Wong Guitierrez) will share the stage with Cantonese opera veterans Choy Yim-heong from Malaysia and Danny Li from Hong Kong to recount their journeys spreading the operatic arts worldwide though talks, demonstrations and performances in a special programme: Global Traces, Local Stages. Popular repertoires by Yam Bak and Pak Yuk-tong that were performed in Southeast Asia during the mid-20th century will also be re-staged, under the artistic direction of Cantonese opera veterans Danny Li and Law Kar-ying.

Two renowned classical musicians demonstrate their remarkable cross-over talent in jazz at this year’s Festival. Denis Matsuev is one of the rare, well-established classical pianists who is also an ardent jazz player on stage. The unbridled Russian virtuoso showcases an imaginative fusion of genres with his electrifying improvisations alongside a jazz band. Six years after his retirement from classical concert halls, the world-class bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff returns to the stage singing jazz in 2018. His Hong Kong debut features heart-warming renditions of jazz classics with his celebrated trio.

Inspired by music spanning from Vivaldi’s concertos to Piazzolla’s tango-inspired masterpieces, distinguished percussionist Li Biao and his percussion ensemble transport listeners from nostalgia to exuberance with over 50 different instruments. Similarly, the Catalan singer-songwriter Sílvia Pérez Cruz draws upon jazz, flamenco, bolero, fado, Catalan and Galician music, South American folk songs and more to spin deeply personal stories, sung with a sweet, soulful voice full of personality. Menorcan piano virtuoso Marco Mezquida and ground-breaking Portuguese double-bassist Jorge da Rocha forge new connections between the worlds of jazz, classical, contemporary, electronic and pop music in the Festival’s Nouveau Jazz Weekend.

Belgian theatre-makers Ontroerend Goed invite audiences to participate in their powerful, immersive work £¥€$ (Lies), offering a glimpse inside the global monetary system through game-inspired theatre. At the crossroads of contemporary performance and cutting-edge technology, Frogman is a coming-of-age thriller exploring the fragility of the childhood imagination. Award-winning film and theatre director Pippo Delbono’s La Gioia (Joy) is a theatrical ode to joy, surprise and enchantment. Part theatre, part dance, carnival and music, La Gioia “moves the audience, deeply” (Il Corriere della Sera). .


HKAF commissions local artists every year to produce inspiring new works.

Under the Jockey Club Local Creative Talents Series, Roger Lee, the man behind the multi-award-winning film A Simple Life and the critically acclaimed HKAF theatre production The Amahs, brings audiences a heart-warming music theatre production. Always by Your Side portrays the extraordinary journey of two youngsters with special needs who unlock their hidden talents and find fulfilment through music. Singer-songwriter Endy Chow joins hands with rising stars Yau Hawk-sau and jamie zhang in this production directed by Tang Wai-kit.

HKAF’s production Gangsters of Hong Kong explores human relationships, law and order, and the power struggles between generations, locals and immigrants. Staged by an award-winning production team and cast, this new theatre piece written by Loong Man-hong (Trivisa) unfolds as a powerful story and fascinating lesson in social history.

Fresh from the success of 2018’s collaboration with international artists, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series (CDS) invites local talents to collaborate with UK-born, Belgium-based teacher-choreographer Jos Baker and Beijing-based choreographer Chang Xiaoni to produce two dance programmes. Another programme, Dance Off, showcases short pieces from six local choreographers that explore diverse topics and present singular perspectives.


The 47th HKAF sees an expansion of performance venues beyond the traditional stages to unexpected sites that allow new communities access to our programmes.

This year, HKAF produces a two-weekend dance extravaganza, HKArtsFestival@TaiKwun, at the Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, with inventive and intimate site-specific performances, urban dance battles, community and contemporary dance, workshops and screenings. Admission is free for all. In March 2019, dance enters the community space to show the true meaning of ‘At Every Stage’!

From January to March 2019, the HKAF will transform Cattle Depot into the pop-up HKAF@Cattle Depot Creative Hub. Catering to local and overseas artists from a variety of fields and backgrounds, the hub will serve as an incubation centre for the research and development of new works. A series of new work presentations, cultural exchange forums and workshops will be open to the public.


The Programme & Booking Guide is now available at all URBTIX outlets. Advance Bookings for the 47th HKAF are accepted by fax, post and on the Festival website ( from 12:00am on 11 October to 11:59pm on 29 November 2018. Audiences can enjoy up to 15% discount on their bookings during the Advance Booking period.

Counter Bookings start on 8 December 2018. Patrons can book their tickets at URBTIX (online at, by phone (852) 2111 5999 or at URBTIX outlets.) Tickets to the performances held at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts will also be available at HK Ticketing outlets.


On top of fabulous performances, Festival PLUS offers audiences an exciting range of activities that enhance their Festival experience. Over 90 PLUS programmes will be organised in 2019, with highlights including:

    • Special Performance of the São Paulo Quarteto OSESP
    • , led by the Orchestra’s concertmaster Emmanuele Baldini at St Andrew’s Church (Tsim Sha Tsui);
    • Special Performance of Choreography Walk
    • , led by Canadian dance artist Justin A. Chambers at Central and Western districts;
    • HKAF@Cattle Depot Creative Hub
    • , a pop-up art development hub at Cattle Depot Artist Village encouraging collaborative work and shared resources by local and overseas artists;
    • Pre-Performance Talk by Marin Alsop
    • , Principal Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, on her conducting career and Leonard Bernstein at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre;
    • Open Rehearsal of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and local student orchestras
    • (from Diocesan Girls’ School and Diocesan Boys’ School), conducted by Marin Alsop at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre;
    • Family Weekend: Oper Leipzig – Opera Adventure Day
    • , showcasing the rich history and musical heritage of Leipzig and German opera, with activities including exhibition, face painting, foyer performance, and opera and choir workshops at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre;
    • Family Weekend: P is for Percussion! Family Day
    • , with an interactive percussion exhibition, foyer performances, and thumbiano and coke-bottle xylophone workshops at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

Online registration via Ticketflap starts from 11 October 2018 for selected PLUS events. Details of all PLUS activities will be announced in December 2018 at


Over the past 27 years, Young Friends of the Hong Kong Arts Festival has reached out to more than 750,000 local secondary and tertiary students, with nearly 160,000 of them becoming members. With the educational principle “LEARN, EXPLORE, CREATE”, Young Friends offers a variety of arts education projects aiming to nurture young audiences’ interest in, and understanding of the arts.

As part of this mission, Young Friends brings pre-show workshops to schools. Guided by local professional artists, the interactive workshops aim to help students learn about and appreciate the artworks. After the workshops, Young Friends members can enjoy two Festival performances or Young Friends Special performances, offering them an opportunity to experience different art forms and reflect on the relationship between themselves, the arts and society.

Young Friends also offer a wide range of arts education activities, including cultural exchange tours, YFS Reporters, and arts administration workshops, to cultivate critical thinking, curiosity and creativity, leading to positive changes in students’ lives.


The budget of the 47th Festival is approximately HK$136 million. Secured government baseline funding for the Festival in 2019 represents roughly 13% of HKAF’s total income, with another nearly 6% specially provided by the Government as time-limited additional funding for five years. Around 28% of the Festival’s income needs to come from the box office, and over 33% from sponsorship and donations made by corporations, individuals, and charitable foundations. It is anticipated that the remaining 20% will come from other revenue sources including the Government’s matching scheme, which matches income generated through private sector sponsorship and donations. [The projected 47th HKAF income sources can be found on the attached factsheet]


The 47th HKAF is most grateful to its many sponsors, the main ones being: The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, ICBC (Asia), Sino Group, The Cha Foundation, China Everbright Limited, China Resources (Holdings) Co., Ltd., Financial Times, HKR International, Industrial Bank, Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, NOAH Holdings Limited, Sequoia Capital China, Shun Hing Group, Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund, SPDB International Holdings Limited, Tai Hong Fai Charitable Foundation, and Taiwan Sotheby’s International Realty; Official Industry Partners including Finnair, Lexus, and POAD; and Major Hotel Partners including Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, and InterContinental Hong Kong.


Launched in 1973, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is a major international arts festival committed to enriching the cultural life of the city. In February and March every year, the Festival presents leading local and international artists in all genres of the performing arts, placing equal importance on great traditions and contemporary creations. The Festival also commissions and produces work in theatre, music, chamber opera and contemporary dance by Hong Kong’s own creative talents and emerging artists, many of which have had successful subsequent runs in Hong Kong and overseas. The Festival also presents over 300 “PLUS” and educational activities that offer diverse arts experiences to the community as well as tertiary, secondary and primary school students.

For more information, please visit:


Mr Louis Cheung (Opera and Music)
Direct Line: (852) 2828 4931, Email:

Ms Alexia Chow and Ms Michelle Yeung (Chinese Opera, Theatre and Dance)
Direct Line: (852) 2828 4933 and (852) 2828 4934
Email: and