The Cultural Presentations Section organises performing arts programmes in various art forms including music, dance, Chinese opera, theatre and multi-arts. The programmes feature both local and visiting artists and arts groups, and range in style from traditional to modern and cutting-edge. In 2015-16, more than 990 events were held, attracting about 385 000 spectators.
A number of large-scale visiting programmes featuring world renowned artists and arts groups were presented in the year. Music programmes included performances by the Russian National Orchestra, which gave two sold-out concerts under the baton of Artistic Director/Conductor Mikhail Pletnev. One of these featured young Russian trumpet virtuoso Sergei Nakariakov making his Hong Kong debut. Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes directed the Mahler Chamber Orchestra from his keyboard, in an all-Beethoven concert. The Singapore Chinese Orchestra made their Hong Kong debut in two performances. The ever popular Vienna Boys Choir gave two sold-out concerts, both received enthusiastically. The Encore Series, known to Hong Kong audiences for its featuring of celebrated international recitalists and music groups, this year presented performances by pianist Nelson Freire, violinist Itzhak Perlman, the duo of tenor Ian Bostridge and guitarist Xuefei Yang, the Borodin Quartet, and the Hagen Quartet.
Dance programmes included Spanish flamenco legend Sara Baras, who came with her own dance group Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras and delivered three performances to packed houses. Australian flagship ensembles the Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Chamber Orchestra collaborated in the modern dance programme Illuminated; the Orchestra also delivered a crossover concert staged at the heritage venue Police Married Quarters, together with an innovative installation titled ACO Virtual.
A variety of multi-arts programmes were also brought to Hong Kong audiences in 2015-16, ranging from small-scale family shows to cutting edge hi-tech multimedia performances. Among them was the sensational and long-awaited Hong Kong debut of Artist of Light, brought by iLuminate from the United States. Sold out for all three performances, the show choreographed modern dance with cutting-edge technology and was one of the programmes of the department's Dance x Multimedia Series.
A special programme series, Circus in Town, was introduced in 2015-16, in which two prestigious circus troupes, Cirque Éloize from Canada and NoFit State Circus from the United Kingdom, brought their brilliantly staged circus programmes iD and Bianco respectively to the city. As for theatre programmes, the Li Liuyi Theatre Studio from the Mainland performed Spring in a Small Town.
The Chinese Opera Festival 2015 featured mainstream genres such as Kunqu opera, Peking opera and Cantonese opera, as well as regional operas rarely seen in Hong Kong. Troupes performing Dacheng opera from Fujian, Qi opera from Hunan and Qimen Mulian opera from Anhui were invited to perform classic Mulian episodes, which together made up the Mulian Opera Series. Su opera from Suzhou was also staged. These performances, each with its indigenous specialties and strong casts, were enthusiastically received. The opening programme was given by the masterly Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe. The festival also offered a variety of extension activities in the form of exhibitions, a forum, a stage tour, talks and film screenings. To further popularise the art of Cantonese opera, in November the large-scale annual community event Cantonese Opera Day was held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, attended by 36 500 people.
First launched in 2014, the Music Delight Series continued to present innovative programmes at various New Territories venues that were specially curated to attract youth audiences. Programmes in 2015-16 included Over the Moon by Chanticleer, Piano Battle by Andreas Kern and Paul Cibis, and performances by the MozART Group, all enthusiastically received.
The Guangdong Music Series was another highlight. This included concerts held at two heritage sites, the Yau Ma Tei Theatre and Kowloon Walled City Park. Meanwhile, the Nan Lian Garden Music Series continued to bring Chinese music masters from the Mainland to perform in Hong Kong.
The LCSD endeavours to support local artists and arts groups by including their performances in many of its programmes. A new series, Dance On, was launched in 2015-16 that featured new dance pieces by choreographers in the middle stages of their careers. Four new choreographed dance works by seven dance artists were presented, which later toured to Beijing and Guangzhou. The Playwright Scheme supported young and distinguished playwrights, while the New Energy Series, Our Music Talents Series and Chivalry and Valiance in Chinese Opera Series all introduced budding local talents in the fields of theatre, music and Cantonese opera respectively.
The LCSD continued to collaborate with Consulates-General and cultural organisations, as well as Mainland cities, in organising cultural exchange programmes. These included the large-scale Le French May arts festival, which showcases French artists. In 2015-16, the LCSD co-presented the Festival of Russian Culture with the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. The department also sponsored venue and ticketing services for the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong when it staged the opera Soul Mate, performed by the Korea National Opera as part of Festive Korea 2015.