Written when the composer was just 12, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “La Finta Semplice” qualifies as a real rarity. After a performance the year following its composition, it dropped from the repertoire and was not staged again until modern times. That Musica Viva’s recent production at Hong Kong’s City Hall was a premiere seems beyond doubt, the only question being over how large a geographical area.
This story of business in China starts, alarmingly, with a hostage-taking over a commercial dispute. But rather than launching into a tale of business noir, the author admits that, well, the hostage-taker had a point: he had not in fact been paid.
Perhaps it was being forced to skip a year that prompted Opera Hong Kong to step outside the normal commercial comfort zone and program Vincenzo Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi for this year’s summer semi-staged production at City Hall. Whatever the genesis of the decision, it was a fortuitous choice.
Kotaro Isaka’s thriller Bullet Train moves as fast as the train—the Shinkansen—it takes place on and is named after. Already destined to be a movie starring the not-very-Japanese Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock (one imagines some changes en route), Bullet Train, a guilty pleasure if there ever were one, is something of a cross between Murder on the Orient Express and Train to Busan.
Opium’s role in the history of East Asia has been well-documented, most notably perhaps in Julia Lovell’s definitive 2011 book The Opium War. This, and others like it, deal with the issue mostly from the perspective of the consuming countries, in particular China; Thomas Manuel’s Opium Inc. is noteworthy in focusing just as much on the producer: India.
Anthony Barbieri-Low starts his book comparing ancient Egypt and early China by saying it was a somewhat off-the-wall thing to do.
“China’s new global status as a rising technology power”, as the editors of this new study put it, has increasingly engendered alarmed, if not alarmist, rhetoric by Western politicians and commentators. The combined response of Innovation and China’s Global Emergence, a new collection of academic essays that attempts a ground-up review of the issue, might be summarized as “take a breath”.