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August
Verdi's "Macbeth" at HK Cultural Centre in September

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The Leisure and Cultural Services Department presents five performances of Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Macbeth", based on William Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name, at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, September 25-29.

"Macbeth" is produced and directed by Lo King-man. David Stern (son of the legendary violinist Isaac Stern) conducts the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hong Kong Opera Society Chorus.

Baritones Gary Simpson and Marco Chingari will share the role of Macbeth, while sopranos Xiuwei Sun and Francesca Patane alternate in the role of Lady Macbeth.

Also in the cast are soprano Katusha Tsui-Fraser, baritone Sylvester Che, basses Haojing Tian and Pong Chung-lam, and tenors Luigi Frattola, Alex Tam and David Quah.

"Shakespeare's drama 'Macbeth' is one of the greatest plays of world literature," said producer-director Lo. "Although the work was simplified for the opera libretto, its core and basic elements - a mixture of the realistic and the supernatural - have remained intact. With this opera, Verdi composed a true music drama."

As a story, "Macbeth" has all the elements - ambition, political intrigue, murder and madness.

In the four-act opera, two Scottish noblemen, Macbeth and Banquo, encounter a group of witches. The witches prophesise that Macbeth will become King of Scotland, while Banquo will not reign but be father to a line of kings. Macbeth is persuaded by his insanely ambitious wife to use the occasion of King Duncan's visit to their castle to murder him in his sleep.

The couple succeed at first in concealing their guilt. Macbeth ascends to the throne but remains troubled by the part of the prophesy concerning Banquo; to prevent it from being fulfilled and to solidify his hold on power, he must resort to other murders, but his conscience will not allow him to rest easy.

Lo's new production follows the 1865 revised version of the opera. "We will omit the superfluous and incongruous ballet which was inserted to suit the fashionable taste of a particular time and place," he explained.

"Macbeth" will be performed in Italian, with Chinese and English surtitles. Curtain time is 7.30pm from September 25 to 29 (Thursday to Monday) at the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets priced at $650, $500, $360, $240 and $120 are now available at all URBTIX outlets.

Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Friends of LCSD performing venues receive a 10% discount. The following special discounts apply: 10% for each purchase of four to nine tickets; 15% for 10 to 19 tickets; and 20% for 20 or more tickets.

For programme enquiries, call 2268 7321; for ticketing enquiries and reservations, call 2734 9009; for credit card telephone booking, call 2111 5999; for Internet booking, visit www.urbtix.gov.hk; for more details and information, visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/cp.

End/Thursday, August 14, 2003

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