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Explore the Mediterranean this autumn

The Mediterranean region, a major cradle of human civilisations, has always been exotic and mysterious.

Now, people in Hong Kong will have an opportunity to explore the cream of the performing arts in the region without leaving the city, discovering for themselves the enchanting world of Mediterranean music, dance, sound and colour.

The Mediterranean Arts Festival, organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, will run from October 19 to November 18, featuring leading artists from Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and North Africa.

Along with the recognised Spanish Flamenco, Portugese fado, Italian commedia dell'arte, Venetian carnivals, Greek tragedy and Egyptian oriental dance, the festival also showcases art forms rarely encountered in this part of the world, such as The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey, Byzantine secular music and North Afircan Gnawa and Sufi music.

Opening the festival is "The Italian Feast" by Balthasar Neumann Choir and Ensemble (Germany) with performers in beautiful costumes and masks to play early Baroque music, recreating the vitality of 17th-century Italian carnivals. It will be performed from October 19 to 21 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

The closing programme "Gala Flamenca Dance - Yesterday, Today and Always" (Spain) brings the legendary Flamenco performers and hottest young stars from the London and New York Flamenco Festivals in this unique showcase.

The festival will also feature:
* Commedia dell'arte masterpiece "Arlecchino, Servant of Two Masters" by Piccolo Teatro di Milano featuring renowned actor Ferruccio Soleri (Italy)
* Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra's "He Hui Returns"
* The National Theatre of Greece's authoritative interpretation of "Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound" (Greece)
* Byzantine secular music "Musical Heritage of the Mediterranean" by En Chordais Ensemble (Greece)
* Mystical Islamic heritage "The Whirling Dervishes: A Sacred Ritual" by Istanbul Music & Sema Group (Turkey)
* Leila Haddad's oriental dances "Zikrayat, Homage to Oum Khalsoum" and "In the Trail of the Ghawazee" (Egypt)
* Dhafer Youssef's sufi music "Divine Shadows" concert (Tunisia)
* Hassan Boussou's Gnawa music concert (Morocco)
* Fado diva Cristina Branco's concert (Portugal)
* "Gala Flamenca Concert" featuring vocal Flamenco diva and prince (Spain)
* Ojos de Brujo (Eyes of the Wizard) (Spain)

Apart from performances, the festival also offers recital concerts, exhibitions, dance workshops, master classes, foyer performances and outdoor performances.

Tickets for the Mediterranean Arts Festival are priced from $120 to $580 and are available at URBTIX outlets from tomorrow (September 7). Half-price tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens, people with disabilities and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Booking discounts of up to 20% are available.

Programme brochures are now available at URBTIX outlets or at the website .

For programme enquiries, call 2370 1044. Telephone reservations can be made on 2734 9009 (from September 8) and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Internet bookings can be made at .

Ends/Thursday, September 6, 2007

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