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September
"Legends of China" festival to kick off in mid-October

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The "Legends of China" festival, inspired by figures and events from Chinese history, literature and legends, will take place from October 16 to November 28.

Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the festival made a successful debut in 2001.

The department's Chief Manager (Arts Organisations, Festivals and Entertainment), Ms Winsome Chow, told a press conference today (September 8): "We have prepared a rich array of programmes, including an original epic opera, Chinese opera, music, dance and drama, to showcase the many splendours of Chinese culture for the appreciation and enjoyment of the people of Hong Kong.

"The scope is no longer confined to stage productions on the history and legendary figures of China, but has been expanded to cover stories of a legendary nature. Other than the traditional repertoire, the festival features modern works, making it a discovery tour of the new among the traditional. It will inject new energy into the legacy of Chinese arts," she added.

The festival will open with the original epic opera "Legend of Yao Ji". This world premiere is a collaboration featuring outstanding artists from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, supported by the chorus and dance troupe of the China Opera and Dance Drama Theatre, accompanied by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

Representing the traditional are:

- The award-winning How a Dead Cat Was Substituted for a New-born Prince (First Part) by the Shanghai Peking Opera Theatre;

- Regional folk opera with A Night with Hebei Bangzi Opera by the Hebei Bangzi Opera Troupe of Beijing;

- Chanting from Mountains Afar by the Ensemble of Gansu Gannan Labrang Monastery;

- Ancient Dance and Music of Dunhuang by the Gansu Dunhuang Art Ensemble;

- A Showcase of Chinese Regional Operas featuring Kunqu opera, Pingtan (Suzhou Lyrics), Huaijiu and vocal performance of Huju (Shanghai opera) and Yueju (Shaoxing opera);

- Cantonese opera The Legendary Four of Cantonese Opera featuring the idiosyncratic styles of four Cantonese Opera stars: Sit Kok-sin, Ma Si-tsang, Leung Sing-po and Leng Chi Pak; and

- A series of guqin concerts.

The festival also includes programmes enriched with a modern twist. The Contemporary Legend Theatre of Taiwan and the Peking Opera Troupe of Beijing will present interesting new angles on a famous anti-heroine in Chinese theatre in The Hidden Concubine and Yan Xijiao, while a Gallery of Chinese Symphonic Music by the Chinese National Orchestra will offer a new musical experience augmented by the visual impact of famous Chinese paintings.

The festival would not be complete without works by contemporary artists. These include:

- The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra's Majestic Drums II - Closing Concert of the Hong Kong Drum Festival;

- Chung Ying Theatre Company's Action! Mr. Lai!, saluting the Father of Hong Kong Cinema;

- Theatre Fanatico's The Seventh Drawer, a surrealistic multi-media experience;

- The music drama, 18 Springs, inspired by the most popular novel of Eileen Chang, co-produced by Zuni Icosahedron and the National Theatre Company of China; and

- A concert by The Chinese Music Virtuosi that forms part of the Chinese Composers' Festival.

The festival also features a lecture series, demonstrations, exhibitions and festive outdoor programmes.

The Legends of China festival is one of the Relaunch Hong Kong campaign programmes. Tickets are now available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are offered to senior citizens, full-time students, people with disabilities and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Recipients. For group bookings and packages, discounts of up to 20% apply.

Telephone reservations can be made on 2734 9009. For credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999. Internet bookings can be made at www.urbtix.gov.hk

Programme details can be found in the brochures obtainable at URBTIX outlets or at www.legendsofchina.gov.hk

For programme enquiries, call 2370 1044.

End/Monday, September 8, 2003

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