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LCSD to organise inaugural Chinese Culture Festival from June to September to celebrate magnificence of Chinese culture through enchanting visuals and rhythms (with photos)
  The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) will organise the inaugural Chinese Culture Festival (CCF) from June to September. Through different performing arts programmes in various forms and related extension activities, the festival allows members of the public and visitors to experience the broad and profound Chinese culture with a view to promoting Chinese culture and patriotic education as well as enhancing national identity among the people of Hong Kong, making contributions to the steadfast and successful implementation of "one country, two systems".

  The programme parade of the CCF 2024 was held today (April 18) at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Addressing the event, the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung, said that Hong Kong has the advantages of having a unique blend of Eastern and Western influences and a vast international network. The CCF will be the first signature brand of the Chinese Culture Promotion Office (CCPO) since its establishment, which will help promoting cultural exchanges and showcasing the unique charm and diverse characteristics of Chinese culture to arts and culture lovers and tourists from around the world. Such a branding initiative can also drive visitor arrivals and related business growth.

  There is an array of programmes in the first CCF including programmes of the Chinese Opera Festival (COF), exemplary local arts projects recognised by the China National Arts Fund, performing arts programmes from arts and cultural organisations, film screenings, exhibitions and talks. To provide opportunities for students to appreciate and understand the essence of Chinese culture in a holistic manner, the CCF will specially introduce the "Chinese Culture for All: A Special Performance Series" and school tours to open new arenas for students to experience Chinese culture.

  The opening programme of the CCF is the Dance Drama: "Five Stars Rising in the East" performed by the Beijing Dance Drama and Opera. The concept of the dance drama was inspired by a piece of Han dynasty brocade armguard unearthed from the ancient Niya cultural relics site in Hotan Prefecture of the ancient Silk Roads in Xinjiang. The woven pattern of this magnificent artefact, designated as a National Class One Cultural Relic, reveals characters that translate as "five stars rising in the East are auspicious signs for the Central Plain". Through spectacular dance movements, music, costumes and stage design, the production reshapes the aesthetics of the Han dynasty and the local customs of the Western Regions, allowing the profound Chinese cultural heritage carried by the precious cultural relic to be showcased onstage. It also demonstrates the spirit of unity and coexistence of the Chinese nation enduring for thousands of years. 

  The LCSD's signature project, the COF, has now become a core part of the CCF from this year. It will present eight quality programmes packed with both civil and martial scenes, covering Cantonese opera, North Road Bangzi opera, Chiuchow opera, Liuzi opera, Yue opera, Kunqu opera, Wu opera and Peking opera. The COF allows outstanding troupes and winners of the China Theatre Plum Blossom Award from all over the country to gather in Hong Kong to showcase the unique charm of Chinese opera. The first programme of the COF, "Cyrano de Bergerac" - A Cantonese Opera Interpretation, is an adaptation of a French classic piece of the same title, demonstrating the eclecticism of the Cantonese opera, most notably in the hybrid mix of East and West. Furthermore, the Academy of Xinzhou Studies, the Guangdong Chiu Chow Opera Theatre Number One Troupe and Hong Kong's Sun Hon Kwong Chiu Chow Opera Troupe, the Centre for the Safeguarding of Liuzi Opera of Shandong, the Fujian Fanghua Yue Opera Troupe, the Northern Kunqu Opera Theatre and the Zhejiang Wu Opera Research Centre will also bring their best talent to perform their classic plays and excerpts, exemplifying the Chinese opera cultural soft power of the nation. The COF will also present a number of free programmes like meet-the-artists sessions, masterclasses and talks, enabling drama lovers to learn more about the soul of Chinese culture.

  The CCF designates a focal city each year, and Shanghai will be the focus this year. Three speculator events will be presented to showcase the cultural charm of Shanghai styles. The Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company will present the classic play "The House of Wulong" and the full-length serial opera "Seven Heroes and Five Gallants" (in Parts One and Two) by renowned virtuoso of the Peking opera Chen Shaoyun, together with Plum Blossom awardee Fu Xiru and a cast of outstanding young performers. The Shanghai Chinese Orchestra will stage two delicate performances of Shanghai-style Chinese music in Hong Kong, "New Oriental Chinese Music Scene", under the baton of celebrated conductor Tang Muhai. "The Hong Kong Jockey Club Series: Fragrance of Time - In Search of Chinese Art of Scent" Exhibition will showcase a constellation of precious artefacts, including ceramics, bamboo carvings, paintings and bronze objects from the collection of both the Shanghai Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of Art, taking audiences on an olfactory journey across thousands of years. The exhibition is solely sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

  This year's CCF will collaborate with the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Hong Kong Member Association to organise a number of stage performances, including the "Ode To China", the "New Dance Rhythms with Chinese Quintessence", the "Concert of Drum Music Art Ensemble of Jiangzhou, Shanxi and their Hong Kong Inheritors" and the "Chinese Magical Arts' Wonder", demonstrating the power of unity of the local cultural sector, as well as their solid competence and boundless creativity in promoting Chinese culture. During the CCF, arts groups of some of the outstanding local works selected for funding under the China National Arts Fund have been invited by the LCSD to present their works. Three outstanding local works will be staged in the first CCF, including the Hong Kong City Chinese Orchestra's "Hong Kong Contemporary Ethnic Orchestra Classic Music Work", the Windpipe Chinese Music Ensemble's "Voices of Hong Kong - Everlasting Cantonese Music" and Hong Kong Xiqu Troupe's "A New Cantonese Opera Ma Xianglan". In addition, the CCF also promotes high-quality provincial and local stage productions, which include City Under the Moon - Dance Drama: "Mulan" by the Ningbo Performance & Arts Group, the opening programme of the International Arts Carnival 2024 - China National Acrobatic Troupe's "Me and My Youth", the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra's "The Ancient Tea Horse Route" and the Hong Kong Dance Company's "Fun Ride with Big Beard - Dancing Poems 2.0".
  In addition to stage performance, movie fans can revisit a number of selected local films and precious Chinese opera films in the CCF. They include "Integrating Traditional Morality with Modern Reality: Sil-Metropole Retrospective" showcasing 16 works of Sil-Metropole and its predecessors Great Wall, Feng Huang and Sun Luen as well as programme "Hairpin, Butterfly and Tong Tik-sang Revisited" which shows the Cantonese opera classics. There are also screenings of Cantonese operatic song films and Chinese opera films which demonstrate the crux of excellent Chinese culture. On talks, there are "Exploring the Roots of Local Music in silk-and-bamboo, wind-and-percussion" and "Legacy and Vision: Conversations with Chinese Cultural Masters" which cover topics on traditional Chinese music, Chinese aesthetics, traditional culture, Chinese painting and calligraphy, Cantonese opera, drama, visual arts, cultural industry and more.

  For the dates and venues of the above-mentioned programmes, please see the Annex. Tickets will be available at URBTIX (www.urbtix.hk) and the Xiqu Centre Ticket Office from tomorrow (April 19) onwards (except for International Arts Carnival 2024: "Me and My Youth", "The Hong Kong Jockey Club Series: Fragrance of Time - In Search of Chinese Art of Scent" Exhibition, "Integrating Traditional Morality with Modern Reality: Sil-Metropole Retrospective" and "Hairpin, Butterfly and Tong Tik-sang Revisited" programmes). For telephone bookings, please call 3166 1288. A time-limited offer is available from tomorrow until May 3 for purchasing the selected stage programmes of the CCF. For programme enquiries and concessionary schemes, please call 2268 7321/2268 7323/2268 7325 or visit www.ccf.gov.hk.
  In order to strengthen the promotion and inheritance of the fine traditional Chinese culture, in addition to the above-mentioned performing arts programmes, this year's CCF will launch various free exhibitions and activities for everyone to share the joy. They include the exhibition "A New Era of Ink Painting in Hong Kong", "Red Chamber Expressions - Art Exhibition and Red Studies Forum" and "Loong Legacies: Culture, Arts & Design Exhibition with IP Product Development Programme and Talks". On June 9 at the Plaza and Foyer of Sha Tin Town Hall, the LCSD will hold the "Encountering Chinese Culture" Carnival which includes stage performances with Chinese cultural characteristics, "Library-on-Wheels", inspiring cultural booths, a foyer concert featuring Chinese music and more for all to experience the festive atmosphere at close range. In addition to the spectacular lantern displays of different themes, the Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnivals 2024 to be held in September will bring performances by a Mainland arts group, showcasing the rich variety of China's ethnic styles and traditional culture to the public. Details of the above programmes will be announced later.

  The CCF, presented by the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau and organised by the LCSD and the CCPO, aims to enhance the public appreciation of Chinese culture and cultivate citizen's national identity and cultural confidence. The LCSD has long been promoting Chinese history and culture through organising an array of programmes and activities to enable the public to learn more about the broad and profound Chinese culture. For more information, please visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/ccpo/index.html.
Ends/Thursday, April 18, 2024
Issued at HKT 20:30
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