Stories with a grand narrative can join the past and the future. They can motivate a community to believe and act. A good story can even persuade others that someone or something is special and, even though they may not have a direct stake in the outcome, they would nevertheless wish the protagonists well.
Giacomo Puccini’s final opera is the tale of a Chinese ice princess melted by an implacable love. Turandot, channeling the spirit of a violated ancestress, sets suitors three unanswerable riddles to be answered on pain of death.
British Hong Kong had a good story in the run-up to 1997. Its people worked hard and had an indomitable spirit. China had its own story about Hong Kong: after reunification, the city would prosper as never before due to China’s wise and pragmatic “one country, two systems” policy.
Opera Hong Kong’s summer semi-staged performances showcase local singers; this year’s production was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. The fact that this work is more commonly known by its English name, The Magic Flute, is an indication that it is somewhat unusual: it’s known as a “singspiel”, or “sing-play”, which, like a musical, has spoken dialogue between the singing.
The Hong Kong Ballet’s Asian premiere of Artistic Director Septime Webre’s Alice in Wonderland opens tonight with the composer Matthew Pierce conducting the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong and Cuban ballerina Venus Villa dancing the lead.
Apparently a good pun does not need to be explained. But this title is no joke. I like puns, and I like words, and many of them made their way to a stage as they developed through different phases in my life. Incidentally, I like Shakespeare too.
All the world may indeed be a stage, but a poet’s world consists of words. Nashua Gallagher’s debut collection of verse resonates with themes of coming of age in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia, and is set in a belovedly re-imagined yet elusive “home” with a cast of friends, family, poets and others. Her work traverses tender recollection, wry observation, and candid commentary on the road to love, motherhood, identity, relationships, and the many entanglements of modern living.