The first half of May was been a busy fortnight for opera in the Greater Bay Area. The renowned Chinese soprano He Hui sang her first Wagner role, Senta in Der fliegende Holländer, at the Guangzhou Opera House on 5 and 7 May, a dramatic move (literally and figuratively) away from the Verdi and Puccini heroines for which she is best known.
There is nothing, really, in the title of Fortune’s Bazaar: The Making of Hong Kong to indicate that Vaudine England’s new history centers neither the British colonialists nor the (to a greater or less extent) native Chinese, but rather everyone else—Parsis, Armenians, Baghdadi Jews, Portuguese and Macanese and, in particular, “Eurasians” (a term which merits the inverted commas)—who, she writes, “through their lives have accidentally created the place.”
Il trovatore, Opera Hong Kong’s second production of the year so far, opened with a star-studded cast featuring soprano Martina Serafin as Leonora, tenor Marco Berti as the troubadour Manrico, baritone Simone Piazzola as the villainous Conte di Luna and mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti as Azucena, all performing in a simple yet elegant revolving set.
“Everybody has their own Hong Kong story,” begins the introduction to Don Mak’s Once Upon a Hong Kong. Over a series of 18 illustrations, Mak has the opportunity to tell his story. Mak takes readers on a journey through daily Hong Kong life—from Hong Kong Park to Temple Street to Lantau Island.
A shimmering, fairy-tale city of glass towers where nothing is quite as it seems: this is the vision of Hong Kong presented by award-winning writer Dorothy Tse in her first solo novel.
Over the last several years, young adult readers have been able to enjoy more books set in Asia, from K-Pop stories to Taiwan summer camp tales to novels about American teens who are sent to live with relatives for language and culture immersion. But the choices for younger readers, namely those not yet in high school, are still limited. Authors like Grace Lin and Lenore Look have written middle grade novels in which characters spend summers in Asia, but Christina Matula has created a series of novels for preteens set completely in Asia that does not center around American kids. Her first book in the series, The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly-Mei, introduces the eponymous character and her new life in Asia after her mother takes a job in Hong Kong. This book tackles the issues of being a new kid at school, adjusting to a new culture, and missing her Taiwanese grandma back in Canada.
Chinese Art Since 1970: The M+ Sigg Collection and its sister volume, M+ Collections Highlights are the handsome (and befittingly large) catalogs for M+, Hong Kong’s Herzog & de Meuron-designed museum of modern and contemporary visual culture which opened to the public in November of 2021.