Cover The 49th Hong Kong Arts Festival is set to take place on February 27–March 26, 2021 (Photo: Hong Kong Arts Festival/Facebook)

The forthcoming 49th Hong Kong Arts Festival will be a mix of online and in-venue programmes set to run from February 27 to March 26

The 49th Hong Kong Arts Festival 2021 is going ahead in February and March, featuring a combination of online and in-venue programmes as well as outreach and educational events. The forthcoming edition will open with a concert by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra held via a live broadcast on February 27. The closing act is a celebration of dance by Moscow's Igor Moiseyev Ballet on March 26, 2021.

For this hybrid format, some online programmes will be pre-recorded, offering the flexibility of being viewable depending on one's availability while others will be shown live, either performed in-venue if circumstances permit or broadcast online from various locations.

“In its 49th edition, the Hong Kong Arts Festival will continue to present outstanding performances for Hong Kong,” says Mr Victor Cha, chairman of the HKAF. “Local talents, rising stars and world-class international artists will come together to provide an array of performances. The Festival includes time-honoured classics, world premieres and specially commissioned works. We are most grateful to our artists for their resourcefulness and understanding in helping us to adapt to exceptional circumstances this year. We truly value our partnership with each and every one of them."

The festival's tagline is Separate Together to highlight the period of isolation that a lot of people are going through during this pandemic. "On a deeper level though, Separate Together also describes one of the most magical and meaningful aspects of great art—how each of us responds to a performance in our own unique way, bringing to that response our personal histories, education, values and concerns. And yet, when it all comes together in a great performance, the art can bring us all together, to be moved, excited and uplifted, all in the same moment, across time and space, and cultures, highlighting our shared humanity. I hope very much that we will experience this together in the coming Festival, whether in person or virtually," said Tisa Ho, executive director of the HKAF.

See also: Hong Kong International Film Festival 2021 Will Be Held As A Hybrid Event

Some of the highlights of the upcoming festival include the following:

  • An exclusive screening of Matthew Bourne's double Olivier Award-winning stage production, The Red Shoes for the first time in Hong Kong as well as three other signature pieces by the acclaimed choreographer
  • A bare-stage preview of Yat-sen (tentative title), an HKAF-commissioned musical under the Jockey Club's Local Creative Talent Series for HKAF's 50th anniversary in 2022
  • Digital presentation of Leoš Janáček's renowned operas including Jenůfa and The Cunning Little Vixen, the song cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared, and three concerts delivered by Jan Bartoš, the Arnold Schoenberg Choir and the Pavel Haas Quartet
  • Cantonese opera Noah's Ark with a modern twist, revived and produced by HKAF
  • Two adaptations of Albert Camus' The Plague—a stage production in Cantonese by local director Chan Tai-yin and an online performance in English by Beijing avant-garde theatre-maker Wang Chong from Beijing, played by six actors across six continents
  • The Journey, an immersive and interactive live online production by illusionist, Scott Silven

Ticket bookings and online registration start at 10 am on February 2, 2021. For all in-venue performances, tickets can be booked via Urbtix while registrations for online performances and Plus events can be done on the official website. For detailed information on the programme, please visit the HKAF website.

See also: Hong Kong Book Fair Rescheduled to July 2021

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