If you happen to turn on the telly over the next few days, the newscasters will probably tell you it is that time of the year – 立夏 (lap6 haa6 in Cantonese or Lìxià in Mandarin). A season term from traditional East Asian calendars, it literally translates as “the beginning of summer”, meaning the sun will be in its full force for quite a while in Hong Kong. Fancy a break from the sultriness of May? While we know it is tempting to simply lie down, watch the Game of Thrones and let Jon convince us that winter is coming instead of lap6 haa6, make sure you do not miss all the exciting cultural events that are happening around you! Opera, art exhibitions, live performances…there’s something for everyone.
Opera: Don Giovanni
Easily our star programme of the month. Don’t worry if you do not recognize the name, you would have certainly heard about its composer – none other than W.A. Mozart himself. Fun fact: Mozart probably completed writing the overture on the very day Don Giovanni premiered in Prague (Well, some did argue that it was the night before). Because of Mozart’s brilliant artistry, his last-minute revision did not stop the opera from being rapturously received by the Prazan audience, and Don Giovanni remains as one of the most popular programmes up until today. We are excited to tell you that, it will be performed in our local opera house this very month! The Opera Hong Kong Chorus and Hong Kong Sinfonietta will collaborate to regale you with the extraordinary tale of Don Giovanni, the eponymous protagonist who devotes his life to beguiling women and eventually gets into trouble. Do treat yourself this summer and let the singers amaze you while Mozart’s tunes serenade you.
Exhibition: An Opera for Animals
This exhibition at Para Site art centre features the works of around 50 artists from across the globe, including Kenojuak Ashevak, the pioneer of modern Inuit art, and Lee Bul, whose art is soon to be showcased in the Southbank Centre of London. This time, these outstanding artists are exploring the intricate relations between the development of opera and the history of imperialism. Some focus on Western opera culture and society in the 19th century and highlight how the golden age of opera is concurrent with the most successful period of European colonialism. Whereas some works adopt the perspective of the colonized and investigate the colonial traces in opera, and how modern societies are constructed by its historical and art legacy as well. An exhibition that gives us much food for thought!
Then how exactly are the animals brought into play? In fact, animals are often utilized as important motifs in operas, as well as in other art forms. For example, if you dig into the history behind the renowned Schloss Neuschwanstein, you will find out that it is not only the model for Cinderella’s and Sleeping Beauty’s castles, but also an art form to express the King’s love for Wagner’s operas. Schloss Neuschawanstein literally means the “New Swan Castle” and is a reference to the scene in Lohengrin, where the damsel in distress prays for protection and the unknown swan knight comes to her rescue with a boat pulled by a swan, making the animal a symbol of divinity and majesty. In Wagner’s later operatic work, The Ring of the Nibelung tetralogy, references are also made to various animals such as the wolves, dragons and serpents to create a mythical ambience. In light of this common practice, many artworks in this exhibition have made use of animal symbolism as the form of expression.
There’s more! The exhibition is an overture to the collaboration between Para Site and the Rockbund Art Museum of Shanghai, as the two institutions will be holding two corresponding exhibitions in the near future.
Date: Now until June 9, 2019
Time: 12:00 – 19:00 (Except on public holidays)
Venue: Para Site, 677 King’s Road, 22/F, Wing Wah Industrial Building, Hong Kong
Hidden bars with live performances
We all know that Lan Kwai Fong is the most popular spot to go out for a drink, but how does an out-of-the-ordinary bar-hunting experience sound to you? Among the list, we have handpicked 2 of them just for you. Enjoy your evening in these cozy hidden bars, but make sure you are going on the right day to catch live music and bands!
This bar is tucked quietly away at Wyndham Street, which happens to be one of the earliest colonial streets in Hong Kong. If you are looking for a getaway from the bustling city life, this is the place for you. Stockton will take you back in time with its vintage vibe and you can spend some quality time with your intimate friends at the bar’s private corners. The bar gets quite lively during its theme nights – past events include the Beatles vs Rolling Stones face-off, and a tribute to Prince. If you are visiting Stockton at one of those nights, bring your dancing shoes and your best karaoke voice!
2. Le Boudoir
Who does not want to book the next flight to Paris after watching the Golden Globe-winning Moulin Rogue? The more economical solution though, is to step into Le Boudoir and this Paris-inspired bar will get you covered. Coincidentally, it is also situated at Wyndham Street, at a basement with soothing music to treat your earbuds. Until the end of May, Le Boudoir will be holding “Acoustic Nights” and every Thursday you can sit back to enjoy the acoustic covers of jazz, rock and pop music by the local duo SoulBros.
That is it for our recommendation of cultural events in May. In the meanwhile, we are happy to present to you our new programme, “Opera Meets Musical Theatre”. Our show in June includes selected music from the opera Carmen, Broadway musicals West Side Story, The Phantom of the Opera and more. Swing by our website regularly for more updates! Always stay tune and come back to www,morethanmusical.org from time to time.