In view of the reopening of performing venues on 19 February, the Hong Kong Arts Festival announces changes to in-venue programmes. Please visit this page for details.

The 49th Hong Kong Arts Festival opened today
with Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra concert “Music about China”

(Hong Kong, 27 February 2021)

The 49th Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) officially opened tonight (27 February) with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra performing Music about China. The Festival’s opening ceremony was held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre with Mr Victor Cha, Chairman of the Hong Kong Arts Festival; Mr Philip N L Chen, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Mr Caspar Tsui Ying-wai, Secretary for Home Affairs; Mr Vincent Liu Ming-kwong, Director of Leisure and Cultural Services; and Ms Tisa Ho, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, officiating.

[Please download photos of the opening ceremony here]

The Festival Opening concert by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (HKCO) featured five commissioned works, in which two were world premieres. The Music about China series, marking 15 years of collaboration between HKAF and HKCO, has premiered a considerable number of works by composers from Greater China and beyond, promoting and propagating the heritage of Chinese music. In addition to the in-venue performance at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, the Festival Opening concert was also available to watch for free online via live streaming, kick-starting an unprecedented hybrid edition of the Festival.

This year’s Festival offers over 30 performance programmes. Seventeen of these programmes as well as more than 250 PLUS events can be enjoyed free of charge upon registration on the HKAF website. Ticketed performances include international productions The Plague (English version) and The Journey, both delivered live online; and other all new online local productions as well as in-venue performances. This Festival can take audience places even without catching a flight.

The theme of the 49th HKAF, “Separate Together”, acknowledges the universal experience of isolation and distancing over the past year. Productions such as The Plague, Noah’s Ark and The Journey are artistic responses to these contemporary global conditions. “Separate Together” also describes how the arts brings people together in a collective experience—beyond the individual response to great art—to be moved, excited and uplifted across time, space and cultures, highlighting our shared humanity.

Tickets for in-venue performances of the 49th HKAF can be purchased at URBTIX outlets (online booking at www.urbtix.hk or telephone booking at 2111 5999). For online performances and PLUS events#, registrations can be made on the Festival website at www.hk.artsfestival.org.

# Tickets for PLUS films in cinemas will be available at the respective venues.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The HKAF is grateful to its many sponsors, partners and donors for their support, without which the Festival would not be able to take place as planned. Apart from the HKSAR Government’s funding, the Festival receives support from numerous sponsors including: The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, ICBC (Asia), The Cha Foundation, HKR International, and Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund; Official Premium Car Partner DCH Motor Leasing, Official Airline Finnair; Official Film Studio Recording Partner Shaw Studios; Official Live Streaming Technology Partner TFI, and Major Hotel Partner Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.


NOT TO BE MISSED

The 49th HKAF will present a diverse programme of in-venue and online performances, with a selection of notable programmes, including the following:

    • The Journey and The Plague (English version): Two English online theatre works are featured in the Festival line-up—the HKAF co-commissioned programme The Journey is an immersive and interactive live online production by illusionist Scott Silven; while The Plague (English version), a chilling adaptation of Albert Camus’s existentialist literary classic, is directed by Beijing avant-garde theatre-maker Wang Chong, and performed in real time by six actors across six different locations and time zones.

    • Matthew Bourne’s Ballet Films, The Red Shoes, Swan Lake, Cinderella and Romeo & Juliet: A specially curated series of films featuring productions by “the great showman of British dance” (The Daily Telegraph). For the first time in Hong Kong, Matthew Bourne’s double Olivier Award-winning stage production The Red Shoes will be shown.

    • National Theatre Brno: Audiences will be treated to an unforgettable Janáček experience with a broad selection of his works, including two of the composer’s best-loved operas—Jenůfa and The Cunning Little Vixen.

    • Cantonese Opera Noah’s Ark: A magnificent revival of the 2010 Cantonese opera Noah’s Ark. This contemporary theatrical production features brand-new set and costume designs, retelling the Biblical story of the Great Flood with a modern twist.

    • Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series (CDS): The tenth anniversary of the CDS celebrates the achievements of the past decade in a series of provocative new works including Finding Meaning in an Uncertain World and Mokita/Voice Out, revamped audience favourites, and thoughtfully curated commemorative media.

    • Wiener Symphoniker: The venerated Wiener Symphoniker honours its heritage with a gala concert dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Franz Lehár, the king of Viennese operetta, while embarking upon another grand era with an inaugural concert led by its new music director, Andrés Orozco-Estrada.

    • Igor Moiseyev Ballet: Moscow’s legendary dance company presents a unique online programme especially curated for the HKAF finale performance, featuring nine of its best-loved dances created by its pioneering founder Igor Moiseyev.

Please stay tuned for details of more programmes and rescheduled performances which will be announced soon.


PLUS PROGRAMMES

In this exceptional year, PLUS continues to bring “More than Great Performances” to enrich audience experiences beyond the stage. Highlights of the 2021 programme include:

    • Into the Czech Lands: A series featuring Czech music, and an online exhibition exploring the historical environment that produced the music of Dvořák, Janáček, Smetana and Martinů.
    • Telling Images of Xiqu on Porcelain: A documentary short revealing the boundless possibilities of the two art forms.
    • Noah’s Ark: Behind the Scenes: A behind-the-scenes film following the creative team on their mission to rebuild Noah’s Ark with a contemporary touch.
    • Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series (CDS): A special project celebrating the tenth anniversary of the CDS, involving a six-episode documentary, a digital database and commemorative booklet.
    • Go Online in the Pandemic: A conversation between David Baile, Chief Executive Officer of the International Society for the Performing Arts, and Tisa Ho on the performing arts industry’s shift from analogue to digital, as part of the Distinguished Cultural Leadership Series.
    • PLUS films: A series of films tracing the early development and career milestones of celebrated violinist Hilary Hahn and dance-choreographers Jiří Kylián and Sergei Polunin.
    • Artist Sharing: A conversation with pianists Charles Richard-Hamelin and Rachel Cheung on conquering performance anxiety in piano competitions.

YOUNG FRIENDS

Young Friends, an integrated arts education programme designed to nurture students' interest in the arts, has reached out to a remarkable 798,000 students as of 2021.


ABOUT THE HONG KONG ARTS FESTIVAL

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 from all genres of the performing arts, according equal importance to great traditions and contemporary creations. The Festival also commissions and produces works 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. Every year the Festival also presents over 250 PLUS and educational activities that offer diverse arts experiences to the community, as well as to tertiary, secondary and primary school students. In addition through the “No Limits” project, co-presented with The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the Festival strives to create an inclusive space for people with different abilities to share the joy of the arts together.


MEDIA ENQUIRIES

For further enquiries, please contact Ms Katy Cheng, Marketing Director, at katy.cheng@hkaf.org, or:


Mr Dennis Chan (Opera and Music programmes) at dennis.chan@hkaf.org
Ms Alexia Chow (Chinese Opera, Theatre and Dance programmes) at alexia.chow@hkaf.org