The best cultural events in Hong Kong to catch this season—plus Asian talent to look out for around the world


Chinese Opera

This October and November, the annual Black Box Chinese Opera Festival returns with a line-up of both traditional productions and modern adaptations by troupes from Shanghai and Xiamen. The Xiqu Centre, the city’s dedicated Cantonese opera venue will also stage fresh takes on classic productions including Farewell My Concubine and Wenguang Explores the Valley. Suitable for both fans and those new to the genre, these abridged performances capture the gist of the originals in a more digestible format.

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See also: 10 Places In Hong Kong To Learn About Local Heritage And Culture

Hong Kong Sinfonietta

The Sinfonietta is collaborating with cinema company Movie Movie to bring five original concert movies to Life Is Art, Hong Kong’s annual documentary festival, taking place this month. The orchestra was the first music company in Hong Kong to record its performances for screening when the pandemic led to so many cancellations. Back on Stage III: Destiny, the latest concert film recorded in November last year, will open the festival, while Back on Stage I and II will also be screened. The other two titles are Vive La Musique, featuring local pianist Colleen Lee and French cellist Aurélien Pascal, and All Star Tiny Galaxy, a chamber concert, which will be shown in Sham Shui Po’s vintage-themed hostel Wontonmeen, a popular venue for smaller jazz and indie music performances.

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The Hong Kong Philharmonic

The HKPhil’s artistic director Jaap van Zweden returns to the city for the new season’s Beethoven and Dvořák concerts this month. The former will feature violinist Jing Wang, the orchestra’s concertmaster since 2013, while the latter features pianist Avan Yu, the 2012 winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition. The orchestra will also perform John Williams’s soundtrack to Jurassic Park while the film is screened, and modern Chinese classic Butterfly Lovers, while guitarist Miloš Karadaglić will finally come to the city this December to give his concert, postponed last year by pandemic travel restrictions.

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Opera Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s first professional opera company revives two classics this October: Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, co-produced with the Slovene National Theatre Maribor, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. Both the tragedy and comedy are love stories set in Japan with iconic melodies you’ll be singing for hours after they’re finished.

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See also: New Hong Kong Opera Singer Louise Kwong Shines in Bizet’s "Carmen"


Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, known for composing the scores for Academy-Awardwinning films The Revenant and The Last Emperor, and his longtime collaborator Shiro Takatani, an artist based in Kyoto, will work together this December on dis·play, a fusion of art, music and reflections on life.

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Dance and Theatre

The Hong Kong Repertory Theatre

Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s trilogy The Road to Damascus stunned its early 20th-century audience with its complex combination of myths and symbols in a drama about a man on his way to an asylum. This October production will bring the story of one man’s voyage of self-discovery to Hong Kong audiences, with theatre veteran Chris Sun in the lead role. In the same month is Ambiguous, a new local play which delves into the overlooked problems of modern marriage. In January, the company will stage a production of Fiddler on the Roof, the multiple-Tony winning Broadway musical, translated and directed by artistic director Anthony Chan.

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Rimini Protokoll

The Berlin-based theatre produces stage works that challenge what theatre means. The part-performance, part-reality show 100% City has been staged around the world since 2008, gathering 100 inhabitants of the city in which it is taking place, who answer a series of questions that are combined to paint a picture of local society. Rimini Protokoll is collaborating with local company On & On Theatre Workshop in 100% Hong Kong, which will be staged at the Xiqu Centre in October.

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The Hong Kong Dance Company

Hong Kong Dance Company, which specialises in modern Chinese dance, has two highlights in the coming months. Waiting Heart at the Cultural Centre this September is an adaptation of The Legend of the Purple Hairpin, the classic Cantonese opera about the doomed love between poet Li Yi and courtesan Huo Xiaoyu. The production, which premiered in 2018, won two Hong Kong Dance Awards the following year. November sees the 30th-anniversary production of Nine Songs, created by Hong Kong choreographer Helen Lai, composer Tan Dun, and set and costume designer Tim Yip, at the Xiqu Centre.

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The Hong Kong Ballet

The Future Is Now, the title of the HKB’s new season, accurately captures what the ballet company hopes to achieve in the coming months: redefine dance for contemporary Hong Kong. Cynthia Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty returns in October with its timeless tale of good versus evil, Tchaikovsky’s romantic score and a pas de deux that tests the dancers’ skills. The Nutcracker is a Christmas holiday fixture, but this year it comes with a spin as the team transfers the yuletide tale to a Hong Kong setting. The company will also collaborate with M+ next February in Live Art: Beyond Carbon: The Climate Change Project, blending music, fashion and technology to stimulate conversations about and action for our planet.

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West Kowloon

In October, Freespace, the new contemporary performance venue, will host Untitled Group: Transition by Gu Jiani, a Sichuan choreographer known for rejecting traditional ballet and classical forms, while the City Contemporary Dance Company will stage Home Sweat Home, a dance show with storytelling and multilingual singing, in November.

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See also: 5 Hong Kong Events You Can't Miss in September 2021

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