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"Tan Dun WE-Festival": Opera and Dance Theatre to take essence of Eastern and Western culture to global stage (with photos)
     The Leisure and Cultural Services Department's "Tan Dun WE-Festival" will kick off with the primitive "Opera and Dance Theatre" performances in December. Tan Dun, Hong Kong's Ambassador for Cultural Promotion (ACP), and internationally renowned composer and conductor, will bring together primitive music, dance, drama and physical idioms from the East, and blended with a piano duo, percussion and the century-old classic of Stravinsky from the West, enabling a dialogue between cultures of East and West in Hong Kong, an international stage for cultural and arts exchanges.

     The programme will start with a dialogue between Tan and the renowned choreographer Yang Liping on their personal experiences of growing up in Hunan and Yunnan respectively, as well as their artistic journeys that take them to the arena of the world followed by a demonstration. Then, the show will continue with the opening piece "Shaman Tea Ritual" which is the ritual music and dance of the ethnic minorities that Tan encountered during a field trip in Yunnan. It will be performed by Yunnan shamans Luo Fengxue and Oumuyounuo.

     Next, two mini operas, "Deer of Nine Colours" and "Heart Sutra", with music played by duo pianos and percussion started a new dialogue between the East and West cultures. Under the baton of Tan, Hong Kong's local young pianist Rachel Cheung and Tsang Hin-yat will participate in the performances together with the New York Bard Percussion Ensemble. Local young soprano Candice Chung will sing in Cantonese, while indigenous singer and morin khuur player Hasibagen and indigenous singer Yongjiangfan will perform in Mongolian and Tibetan respectively. Accompanied by young pipa player Han Yan with her fantan pipa dance and music, the operas exemplify the vocal power and the ancient music of Dunhuang that transcend language barriers, to retell the millennium-old Chinese culture.

     The final part of the programme, "The Rite of Spring", a dance theatre choreographed by Yang, will be performed by members of the Peacock Contemporary Dance Company, Dazhu and Jinhua, in a duo version. The production, based on the unique and innovative score by the renowned composer Stravinsky, combines Eastern philosophy, symbols and aesthetics, breathing new life into the century-old masterpiece from the Eastern perspectives.

     Tan is an internationally renowned Chinese composer, musician and conductor, and was appointed by the UNESCO as a Goodwill Ambassador in 2013. He is currently Dean of the Bard College Conservatory of Music in New York and an honorary artistic director of the China National Symphony Orchestra. Tan has been promoting the messages of peace and green environment throughout the years. His music has made an indelible mark on the world's music scene, which earned him many prestigious honours, including the Grammy Awards, the Academy Awards and the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale. He has led some of the world's most esteemed orchestras, and composed more than 100 musical works over the years. His famous works includes the film scores of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Hero" as well as the award ceremony music for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. In 2021, Tan was presented with an honorary doctorate by the Education University of Hong Kong. Tan has been serving as the ACP since January 1 this year for a period of five years.

     Yang is currently serving as Vice Chairperson of the China Dancers Association. She received acclaim for her original dance piece "Spirit of the Peacock" in 1986. Yang has created large-scale stage productions such as "Dynamic Yunnan", "The Peacock", "Under Siege" and "The Rite of Spring". Yang has won many awards over the years, including the Gold Award in the Dance Classics of the 20th Century, the highest honour at the Osaka International Festival, and five major awards at the National Lotus Awards, including Gold Award for Dance Spectacular, Best Female Performer and Best Choreography.

     "Tan Dun WE-Festival": Opera and Dance Theatre will be held at 7.30pm on December 6 and 7 (Wednesday and Thursday) at the Grand Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets priced at $150, $220, $320 and $400 are now available at URBTIX (www.urbtix.hk). For telephone bookings, please call 3166 1288. Package discounts will be available for standard ticket purchase with another "Tan Dun WE-Festival" programme "Tan Dun: BACH Rock & Hanggai - When BACH Meets GENGHIS KHAN". For programme enquiries and concessionary schemes, please call 2268 7323 or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/Programme/en/dance/programs_1639.html.

     "Tan Dun WE-Festival" offers an extension programme "World Premiere & Symposium" (conducted in English and Putonghua), which will be held at 2pm on December 10 (Sunday) at the Grand Theatre of Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Artistic Director Tan will engage in discussion with Hong Kong young composer Kam Shing-hei, Shanghai young composer Liu Junhao, Associate Director (Artist Management) of Harrison Parrott Federico Hernandez and Director of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Gillian Choa. There will be a live performance session, with Kam and Liu together with the New York Bard Percussion Ensemble. They will perform their world premieres of WE-commissioned works "A Dream in Tsim Sha Tsui" and "Time Shadows" respectively. The Ensemble will also present music pieces of the renowned composer John Cage, and Tan will provide introduction to his works "H2O Tempo" and "WE (West & East)" that are created with Metaverse technology. Interested audience can reserve their seats by registering online (www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/Programme/en/music/programs_1643.html#tab_2_0) with the reference number stated on the programme ticket of "Opera and Dance Theatre" or "Tan Dun: BACH Rock & Hanggai - When BACH Meets GENGHIS KHAN". Admission for the extension programme is free. Limited seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis with free seating.

     "Tan Dun WE-Festival" is curated by Tan, Hong Kong's ACP, also artistic director of the festival. Featuring musicians, dancers and ensembles from the Mainland, Hong Kong and around the world, this West-East artistic feast will reveal brand-new approaches to music, dance and visual arts, turning the city into an international stage for cultural and arts exchanges. The Festival will also attract people from both East and West to gather in the city, showcasing the essence of Hong Kong's East-meets-West cultural DNA. For more details, please visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/Programme/en/music/groups_1635.html.
Ends/Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:35
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