Given the close economic ties between Shenzhen and its neighboring Hong Kong, people would wonder once in a while why the two cities have not shared more of their cultural resources. The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the top orchestras in Asia, for instance, has so far only performed twice in Shenzhen.
A scene from “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” by Hong Kong 3 Arts Musical Institute. Photos by courtesy of Poly Theater
Tap dance company R&T will present a show April 7.
An initiative started by Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Beijing Poly Theater Management Co. is trying to strengthen ties between artists and performance markets between Pearl River cities, Hong Kong and Macao, it was revealed at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
The Performance Season of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, in its first year, introduces six programs covering a variety of art forms such as musical, classical music, dance and singing.
On April 4, Pan Asia Symphony Orchestra will stage “The Carnival of the Animals” under the baton of Fan Tao, a renowned Chinese conductor who graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. The concert will feature a crossover of motion graphic effects and classical music. Young musicians including violinist Wong Pui-ying, 13, as well as pianists Zhen Xiyuan and Lau Shing-ho will perform. The program will include Glinka’s Overture to “Ruslan and Lyudmila,” Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto in D Major” and Saint-Saens’ “The Carnival of the Animals.”
Led by its music director Yip Wai-hong, the orchestra has performed frequently in Hong Kong City Hall over the past three decades.
A show by tap dance company R&T (Rhythm & Tempo) on April 7 will incorporate song and dance performance into a love story set in the 1950s and ’60s in Hong Kong. With numbers sung in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, the energetic song and dance medley typical and unique of Hong Kong will evoke nostalgia among Cantonese speakers. The stage set featuring old-time theaters, factories and herbal tea stalls captures the pulse of the chaotic city.
Led by team leader Jo Jo Pang, Sound of Singers is a group of a cappella singers based in Hong Kong. Their “Glee”-style performance on June 13 will not just present a story, but will also get the audience involved in their performance by teaching them to sing a little bit.
On June 23, Hong Kong 3 Arts Musical Institute will stage “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” a musical revue showcasing 39 pop standards, including rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues songs written by songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
After a Los Angeles tryout, the revue opened on Broadway in 1995, running for 2,036 performances, making it the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history. It also had a London run in 1996.
In revue format with no unifying theme, the 39 songs are presented by various members of the cast in various combinations, with no dialogue. There are novelty songs (“Charlie Brown”), romantic ballads (“Spanish Harlem”), and infectious melodies (“There Goes My Baby”). The original Broadway production was nominated for seven Tony awards in 1995 and won a Grammy Award for best musical show album in 1996.
The show season also includes two classical concerts, one by Hong Kong String Orchestra led by violinist Jue Yao and another piano recital by Cheng Wai.
With the aim to popularize performance arts and promote Hong Kong artists, the shows offer affordable tickets priced between 80 yuan and 280 yuan (US$11-42). Apart from Shenzhen, they will also tour to Poly-managed theaters in Zhuhai, Dongguan and Huizhou.
“This is the beginning of our cooperation,” said Guo Wenpeng, chairman of Beijing Poly Theater Management Co. “We will also arrange for shows produced by mainland cities to be staged in Hong Kong in the future and give our artists a spot at events such as the Hong Kong Art Festival.”