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February 15, 2007

Cult(ure) Following

Is your idea of high culture a weekend with The Sopranos DVD and a Jodi Picoult novel? It’s time to get your bum off the couch and get thee to the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Check out the real “sopranos” in La Bohème (Mar 16-19, HK Cultural Centre) performed by the Welsh National Opera or a concert of contemporary works by opera’s grande dame, Julia Migenes (Mar 11-12, HK Cultural Centre). And hit a cultural high note at Chinese opera The Peach Blossom Fan (Feb 24-25, HK Cultural Centre), a love story set against the backdrop of the fall of the Ming Dynasty.

Yeah, you know Buena Vista Social Club, but do you know Chucho Valdés (Mar 16-17, HK Cultural Centre)? Check out the Grammy Award winning pianist’s free-flowing Afro-Cuban jazz and find a new groove. Want to add a little more zest to the fest? Snag some tickets to All-Star Jazz with the SF Jazz Collective (Mar 2, HK Cultural Centre) an ensemble comprised of eight of the finest, most in demand performer-composers in jazz today.

Looking to woo a tsarina? Yuri Simonov and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra should impress, with three nights of the best Russian classics (Feb 27-28, Mar 1, HK Cultural Centre). After a night in Russia, travel to South Africa with the Soweto Gospel Choir (Mar 23-25, HK Cultural Centre) who use traditional African languages Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho, as well as English, to create a dynamic, inspiring vocal presentation.

Shall we dance? Get hot and heavy with Tango Buenos Aires (Mar 21-25, HK Cultural Centre). Arrive early to enjoy a brief tango demonstration before they turn the Cultural Centre into a milonga (Argentinean dance club). Save some of your energy for Barcelona based Camut Band’s Life is Rhythm (Feb 24-26, HK City Hall), a fusion of tap, flamenco, African drumming, and elements of Brazilian capoeira (We need a nap just thinking about it!).

A fan of old Willy’s works? Catch The Tamingof the Shrew (Mar 9-10) and Twelfth Night(Mar 7-8,10) complete with an all male cast for a truly authentic Shakespearean experience (Lyric Theatre, HKAPA). Can’t get enough? Watch as the Yohangza Theatre Company melds the fantastical world of Shakespeare with Korean mythical folklore in their presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (March 16-18, HK City Hall). For a more modern classic, see the real “Big Brother” in the Actor’s Gang’s performance of Geoge Orwell’s 1984 (Feb 28, Mar 1-4, Lyric Theatre, HKAPA), directed by Oscar winner Tim Robbins.

This is high drama that even Tony would appreciate.

For More Information: Call (852) 2824 2430 or visit

For Tickets: Call the URBTIX credit card booking line at (852) 2111 5999 or go to

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