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October
"Legends of China" festival opens tonight

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The "Legends of China" festival, showcasing the many splendours of Chinese culture, opens tonight (October 16) at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and runs until November 28, presenting a full menu of Chinese opera, drama, dance and music.

The festival comprises contemporary as well as traditional works and the audiences will see that Chinese culture not only has a rich tradition but also many modern faces too.

"Legends of China" is presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

Officiating at the opening ceremony is the Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Patrick Ho Chi-ping.

The opening-night attraction is the world premiere of the epic opera "Legend of Yao Ji", which is presented in Western style. The production brings together outstanding artists from the Mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong, supported by the chorus and dance troupe of China Opera and Dance Drama Theatre, accompanied by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

"Legend of Yao Ji" continues until Sunday (October 19) at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre.

Chinese operatic programmes in the festival lineup 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 in "A Night with Hebei Bangzi Opera" by the Hebei Bangzi Opera Troupe of Beijing;

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

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

-the Contemporary Legend Theatre of Taiwan's "The Hidden Concubine";

-the Peking Opera Troupe of Beijing's "Yan Xijiao".

Music programmes include:

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

-"Gallery of Chinese Symphonic Music" by the Chinese National Orchestra; -the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra's "Majestic Drums II";

-a concert by The Chinese Music Virtuosi that forms part of the 2003 Chinese Composers' Festival;

-a series of guqin concerts.

Theatre productions are:

-"Action! Mr. Lai!" by Chung Ying Theatre Company;

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

-the music drama, "18 Springs" co-produced by Zuni Icosahedron and the National Theatre Company of China.

The festival also features the colour and beauty of "Ancient Dance and Music of Dunhuang" by the Gansu Dunhuang Art Ensemble.

Lecture series and demonstrations, exhibitions and festive outdoor programmes are also a part of the festival lineup.

The "Legends of China" festival is a Relaunch Hong Kong campaign programme. Tickets are 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/Thursday, October 16, 2003

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