The Cultural Presentations Section offers programmes in music, dance, Chinese Opera, theatre and multimedia performing arts throughout the year. These programmes, ranging from the traditional to the avant garde, include the best of local and international performances. In 2012-13 more than 980 events took place, attracting altogether around 440 000 spectators.
In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, the LCSD presented the International Military Tattoo. This was Hong Kong’s first ever military tattoo spectacular, and was joined by more than 10 visiting and local groups including the Military Band of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the Military Band of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, the Guard of Honour of the Three Services of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison, the Royal Australian Navy Band, the Russian Frontier Guard Band, the Bursa Mehter Band of Turkey, the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the US 7th Fleet Band, the Hong Kong Police Band, the Girl Students Marching Band of Jiangxi Normal University, the O’Shea-Ryan Irish Dance Group of Australia, and the Hong Kong Association of Choral Societies. Audiences responded warmly to the three stage performances at the Hong Kong Coliseum, and the two outdoor parades.
The Chinese Opera Festival 2012, this year promoting the art of xiqu or ‘Chinese traditional theatre’, was held from June to August. The festival showcased a variety of operatic genres from different parts of China, including Cantonese Opera, Kunqu Opera, Huangmei Opera, Gezi Opera, Yue Opera, Peking Opera, Gan Opera and Qingqiang. Apart from stage performances, the festival also featured a variety of extension activities in the form of an exhibition, symposiums, talks and lectures, and film screenings. These were valuable in helping the public gain a deeper understanding and better appreciation of the Chinese operatic arts.
The year 2012 also marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of the composer Claude Debussy. The LCSD arranged a programme series featuring world-renowned artists, including Krystian Zimerman and Monique Duphil, together with contributions from local musicians, in the form of recitals and chamber concerts on this occasion. The finale of the series was a Children’s Corner - Debussy Mini Piano Marathon. This was staged in the Foyer of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre for family audiences, and involved more than 20 young pianists from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts playing works by Debussy.
Other major programmes during the year included concert performances by the San Francisco Symphony, Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica from the Baltic States, the English Concert and the Wells Cathedral Choir from the UK, and Piotr Anderszewki.
Dance productions included Flamenco sin Fronteras by the Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company from Spain, Nine Songs by the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre from Taiwan, and performances by the Rambert Dance Company from the UK. As for theatre and opera productions, these included What is Success? by the Edward Lam Dance Theatre, Once, upon hearing the skin tone by Shakespeare’s Wild Sisters Group from Taiwan; a mind-blowing circus Psy by the Seven Fingers from Canada; Verdi’s La Traviata performed by Opera Hong Kong, and Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci performed by Musica Viva.
The LCSD has long offered local artists and arts groups opportunities to take part in thematic series, in different art forms. These have included the literary arts series, Footprint of Time – Literary Figures and Their Sojourn in Hong Kong, specially curated in the form of music, dance and theatre to portray different facets of the lives of famous literary figures who once lived in Hong Kong. In addition, the Re-run Run Shows Series gave local arts groups the opportunity to build up their own repertoire by re-staging popular productions; and the Playwrights Scheme supported young and distinguished writers for the theatre. Meanwhile, the Our Music Talents Series provides performance platforms for local musicians with potential, and the Young Cantonese Opera Artists Series brings opportunities for young Cantonese opera artists and young professional groups.
Large-scale free events featuring budding local artists and groups, such as the 10th Anniversary of Cantonese Opera Day, were organised to popularise arts and enhance community access.
To further support the growth and development of local artists, the LCSD regularly explores alternative performance venues, apart from those under its own management. Notable examples in the year were dance theatres Body, I.D., Space V – Body Battlefield by Y-Space, held at the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences, and Kidult Ophelia by Abby Chan, held at the Cattle Depot. Besides strengthening support for the local arts sector, this new initiative also showed the LCSD’s efforts in raising public awareness of our cultural heritage.
The LCSD also continued to organise joint projects with various Consulates-Generals and cultural organisations. These included organising the 20th Anniversary of Le French May and the Pearl River Delta Culture Summit, both of which helped foster cultural exchanges and enhance Hong Kong’s reputation as Asia’s events capital.