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Blog // Sounds // Thoughts
March 11, 2009

Hong Kong Arts Festival – Roundup

First of all, the organisers of this year’s festival deserve credit for a great series of fixtures, with some smart and courageous decisions on artists and staging. Second, they seem to have done a good job with ticketing, with far fewer of the good seats at events going empty (and seat allocations being more even). […]

First of all, the organisers of this year’s festival deserve credit for a great series of fixtures, with some smart and courageous decisions on artists and staging. Second, they seem to have done a good job with ticketing, with far fewer of the good seats at events going empty (and seat allocations being more even). Finally, this year’s events started much closer to their scheduled times than and the venues were far more strict on latecomers.

It also has to be said that, for reasons I can’t explain, this year’s audiences were quieter and more focussed. There was far less talking and coughing and, as mentioned, people were entering the auditoriums and in their seats much earlier. Moreover, the queues for food and drink before shows and at intervals seemed more respectful (on the whole). Best of all, there were fewer early leavers from the more challenging shows.

From my perspective the events were still plagued, all too often, by technical issues, with sound and lighting being particular problems. I know I’m repeating myself, but Hong Kong really needs a better, warmer sounding venue for Jazz and live music. City Hall, which I like, is too small and the Concert Hall is too brassy.

This year I found my way to eight events and each them was memorable and unique, you can follow the links to read the full reviews.

Chick Corea and John McLaughlin
Metamorphosis
Omar Sosa
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk
I/In
Karbido: The Table
Alice In Wonderland

It’s hard to choose a “best” from such a diverse list of performances. All were memorable and none were disappointing. Perhaps the greatest revelation for me was Omar Sosa, because he turned out to be such an extraordinary showman and performer, not just a brilliant musician. Metamorphosis will surely linger in the mind a long time, for sheer verve and creativity, as well I/In. Then again, Corea and McLaughlin (together with Blade, McBride and Garrett) deserve another mention for the depth and breadth of talent they marshalled together.

Whilst I love this festival, I do wish that Hong Kong could move towards a more even and sustained arts calendar. At the moment it feels like flood and drought as we move from very busy festival months of plenty to arid months of want. This is especially the case in jazz, theatre and modern dance.

[tags] Hong Kong Arts Festival [/tags]

Responses
alice in wonderland white 13 years ago

Meanwhile, Depp’s Mad Hatter is so dull and phoned-in that one can barely call it acting (Unless putting on too much blush and a stupid wig counts.), Mia Wasikowska’s Alice is so wooden that I kept expecting the Cheshire Cat to use her left arm as a tree branch, and while Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen is mildly amusing, the odd chuckle here and there isn’t enough to save this exercise in fantasy sleepwalking.

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