The first few weeks of January, falling as they do between the two New Years’, are culturally relatively quiet. The Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival, now the Beare’s Premiere Music Festival, has long been one of the major events brightening this relatively uneventful period.
The 1980 death of Hong Kong police officer John MacLennan shook the territory and made international news, eventually driving the Hong Kong courts to decriminalize homosexuality in 1991.
Hong Kong Ballet’s annual Christmas production The Nutcracker has been a staple of the season since 2011.
Hong Kong’s year in books: fiction, film, politics, children’s books, photography, history, botany.
Between Opera Hong Kong, Musica Viva, the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Italia Mia Festival, Hong Kong’s opera year began to fill out.
Cao Yu’s Thunderstorm, written in 1933 when he was just 23 while studying western theatre and arts at Qinghua University, was the first of his eight plays. Set in the feudal society of China in the 1920s, the tragedy follows the complicated love entanglements in (and within) the Zhou family. Thunderstorm made Cao’s name by spotlighting incest and premarital pregnancy, challenged the conservative male-dominated society of the time, while reflecting the desire for societal change that had grown up during the revolutionary movements of post-WW1 China. The play has been adapted into six films, including Zhang Yimou’s Curse of the Golden Flower (2006). It was probably inevitable that it would one day be adapted for dance.
If there is any work that typifies “Viennese operetta”—waltzes, romantic comedy, catchy tunes and a certain silliness—it is Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow.