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Feb. 7, 2012
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Hong Kong Arts Festival opens with full line-up of Asian premieres (Jan. 28 – Mar. 8, 2012)
Said to be on the largest scale of any Asian performing arts festival, the Hong Kong Arts Festival presents a full and varied program covering the classical genres of opera, ballet, Peking Opera, etc., as well as contemporary dance and theater. In its 40th holding in 2012, the program includes a good number of Asian premieres, some of which will also be touring to Japan. Two highlights of the program this time are choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s new work TeZukA inspired by Japanese animator and manga artist Osamu Tezuka and director Peter Brook’s 2010 work A Magic Flute that won France’s prestigious Molière Award for Best Musical Theatre in 2011. There will also be an English performance of Hideki Noda’s The Bee which has been touring the world since its 2006 premiere in Britain, followed by a performances of both English and Japanese versions in Japan in 2007.
The theater program brings together a number of works sharing themes of separate worlds created in the imagination of the main character. From overseas come London’s Rose Theatre Kingston’s production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and Ireland’s Bristol Old Vic company’s production of Faith Healer about a faith healer who roams the British Isles, attracting the sick and desperate theatre. As a work commissioned and produced by the Hong Kong Arts Festival, The Wild Boar will be presented with a star-studded cast including TV and theater star Wong Tze-wah; and theatre veteran Poon Wai-sum’s Show Flat, a story exploring the allure and illusions of the property market.
On the dance program Le Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon performs Maguy Marin’s Grosse Fugue and Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, and with the Hamburg Ballet company John Neumeier revives two of his signature pieces in A Streetcar Named Desire and Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler. The Festival’s contemporary dance series presents showcases of works by young Hong Kong choreographers. On the opera program the Bavarian State Opera performs Così Fan Tutte, while in Beijing Opera there is tribute to grand master Ma Lianliang and a program titled the Golden Age of Cantonese Opera.
Participating from Japan in the Festival’s Asia Pacific Dance Platform (APDP) that gives promising dance artists from the region the opportunity to showcase their choreography is KENTARO!! with the work Hello, Goodbye, Repeat, etc…. Participating with solo works are Chou Shu-yi from Taiwan, who recently won London’s Sadler’s Wells online Global Dance Contest, and Eko Supriyanto from Indonesia, who has toured internationally with productions including The Lion King. Also, six multitalented Geisha from Kyoto and a Nagauta master will dance, sing and play instruments including the shamisen, small drum, flute and bell in a program titled The Geisha of Gion.

Festival Outline
Held every February just after the Chinese New Year for about a month, this is one of Asia’s largest performing arts festivals. The Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd. was founded in 1972 by community leaders and the first festival was held in the following year (1973). For over three decades since then, the Festival has continued to present programs of outstanding domestic and foreign performing arts. The Festival is run largely on grants from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and scores of companies, institutions and individuals. The executive director since 2007 is Tisa Ho.
 The Hong Kong City Hotel and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre are the main venues for the festival’s programs of classical opera and music, jazz, world music, theater, musicals, dance and exhibitions from artists around Asia and the world. The Festival schedule also includes youth workshops and educational programs.
+Hong Kong Arts Festival