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.
Hong Kong soprano Louise Kwong sang selections from Puccini, Cilèa and Verdi in a special concert in a special “Concerto Italiano”, presented by the Italian Consulate-General in Hong Kong at the City Hall and streamed online on the occasion of the Italian National Day.
When Micaëla comes on Act III, looking for the estranged Don José at the smugglers’ camp, she sings that Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante—“I tell myself that nothing will frighten me”. One could sense, in this, its first full-staged production in eighteen months, Opera Hong Kong telling itself much the same thing.
The Italian Cultural Institute’s production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Rita was reprised on 27 April at HKUST’s 2021 Cosmopolis Festival.