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.
Australian broadcast journalist Mimi Kwa comes from a lineage going back to imperial Beijing. In her new family memoir, House of Kwa, she tells the remarkable story that brought her father’s family to Southern China, Hong Kong, and Western Australia.
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.
The narrator in Pik-Shuen Fung’s debut novel, Ghost Forest, is a child in an “astronaut” family. As anyone who has ever orbited Hong Kong knows, this term was coined there to describe families that emigrated—usually to Canada, Australia or the United States—while the fathers stay back to work, “flying here, flying there”. It’s a resulting father-daughter relationship that provides the backbone of Fung’s novel, arranged as a collection of related vignettes, mostly one or two pages, but sometimes consisting of only several words.
Musica Viva’s new production of Norma—Vincenzo Bellini at his bel canto best—is perhaps an omen: it is just one letter shy of “normal”.
It can be easy to forget amongst the glistening skyscrapers, bustling streets and neon lights, but the Pearl River Delta used to be a haven for banditry and piracy. As the authority of Imperial China waned, pirate fleets based out of Guangdong Province roamed the waves, raiding traders and taking captives.
Rabbit in the Moon is an honest, finely crafted meditation on intercultural marriage, the importance of family, and finding the courage to follow your dreams. Returning from a holiday course in Hawaii to her teaching job in Texas, Heather Diamond wonders if her whirlwind affair with Fred, an ethnomusicologist from Hong Kong, was a moment of madness. She is, after all, forty-five years old, married, a mother and grandmother.