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May
Royal Ballet presents "Sylvia" and "Manon" in July
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The Royal Ballet, one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world, from the United Kingdom, will bring to Hong Kong two masterpieces, "Sylvia" and "Manon", in July.

The performances will have live music accompaniment by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta under the baton of Graham Bond and Martin Yates from the Royal Ballet.

The Royal Ballet was founded by Dame Ninette de Valois in 1931 as the Vic-Wells Ballet. After being granted a royal charter, it was renamed The Royal Ballet in 1956.

Led by Artistic Director Monica Mason, the 83-strong company is acknowledged to be in its best shape for decades. The wide-ranging repertoire of this world-class company showcases the greatest classical ballets, with the Royal Ballet's own heritage alongside new works by the foremost international choreographers of today. In its 77-year history, choreographers for the company have included Sir Robert Helpmann, Frederick Ashton and Sir Kenneth MacMillan; and celebrated dancers have included Margot Fonteyn, Anthony Dowell, Gillian Lynne, Irek Mukhamedov, among many others. In the past decades, the company has received numerous national and international dance awards and honours.

The company has also developed an international reputation on worldwide tours that have covered Australia, Asia, Europe, Russia and the USA. In the 2008 season, The Royal Ballet will tour Beijing, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong, bringing with it two of its signature works, "Sylvia" and "Manon", for the Hong Kong audience. The company last visited Hong Kong in 1983, and gave seven full-house performances attended by more than 30,000 people. Its coming visit also brings to Hong Kong its award-winning principals, Tamara Rojo, Mara Galeazzi, Marianela Nunez, Alina Cojocaru, Sarah Lamb and Rupert Pennefather.

The story of "Sylvia" is about shepherd Aminta. He was in love with a nymph Sylvia, but was accidentally killed by her. Enraged by her actions, Eros shot an arrow into her heart, resulting in her falling in love with the dying Aminta. Eros had a dramatic showdown with Diana, the Goddess of Chastity, and the lovers were reunited and lived happily ever after.

In "Manon", young Manon had met an attractive student, Des Grieux, just as her brother Lescaut intended her for wealthy Monsieur G.M. When she and Des Grieux escaped with their stolen money, Manon was arrested as a prostitute and deported to America. Des Grieux help Manon to escape, but she finally collapsed and died in Des Grieux’s arms.

Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, The Royal Ballet will perform "Sylvia" (in 3 acts) at 7.30pm on July 17 and 18 (Thursday and Friday); "Manon" (in 3 acts) at 7.30pm on July 19 (Saturday), 2.30pm and 7.30pm on July 20 (Sunday). All performances will be staged at the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets priced from $180 to $880 will be available at all URBTIX outlets from May 19 (Monday) onwards. Half-price concessions will be granted to senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. (Limited tickets for full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients are available on a first-come, first-served basis.) For detail of group booking discount, please refer to individual programme leaflets.

For programme enquiries, call 2268 7323; for ticketing enquiries and reservations call 2734 9009. Internet bookings are available at http://www.urbtix.hk . For credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999. Visit http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/cp for more information on the programme.

Ends/Friday, May 16, 2008
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