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18th Macao Arts Festival
Beautiful Arts, Beautiful Life!

 

The Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao SAR Government presents the 18th Macao Arts Festival (MAF) to be held between 5 May and 2 June 2007.

The Dramatic Arts are the main course in this edition of the Macau Arts Festival (MAF), which comes of age to the sound of applause for the 100th anniversary of modern Chinese Theatre. With more than 45 performances by artists from Germany, Spain, Canada, Austria, Indonesia, Mexico and France/Hungary, the Festival season would not be complete without the ever-present spirit of the Portuguese, as well.

O'queStrada brings the popular sounds of their Tascas Tour to the intimacy of the Dom Pedro V Theatre on 18 and 19 May, and the Macanese Patois theatre group Dóci Papiaçam di Macau creates their now legendary caricature of local society with the premiere of Cuza, Dotôr? (What's up, Doc?) at the Macao Cultural Centre Grand Auditorium on 23 May. This is the latest work by Miguel de Senna Fernandes, who for more than ten years has gathered Macanese friends to stage these hilarious stories about Macau.

In a clear show of support for local talent, Macao artists are given the opportunity to début works reflecting recent moments in the region’s history, while on the international front, the Festival reaffirms itself as a staging ground for the latest world trends in the performing arts, crossing theatre with multimedia arts, dance, cinema and music in a selection extending as well to lesser-known Asian traditions.

 

100 Years of Modern Chinese Theatre

The Guangdong Drama Theatre is the opening act of the Festival and the first to celebrate the centennial of modern Chinese theatre, performing a play about the little-known historical relationship between Chinese merchants and foreign traders set in the social fabric of 19th century Canton. Produced by Cao Chunliang, the stellar cast takes the stage of the Macao Cultural Centre (MCC) Grand Auditorium on 5 May, recreating daily life at the end of the Qing Dynasty. The 13 Hongs of Canton springs from the minds of playwrights Chen Jingsong and Wu Weiqing and is the first play ever written about the unprecedented international commerce that defined this epoch in China’s history.

The portrayal of Chinese society continues on 6 and 7 May with a local production to take place in the Clementina Leitão Ho Brito Theatre. The students of the School of Theatre of the Macao Conservatory share an original script by the revolutionary author Xia Yan, Under the Eaves of Shanghai.

Afterwards the MAF leaves the Chinese dramatic arts for Russian in the year 1925. At the Alegria Cinema on 10-12 May, the musicians of Trio Bravo+ add their artistry to the epic imagery of the silent film Battleship Potemkin by legendary director Sergei Eisenstein. In their same cosmopolitan style, they premiere two original soundtracks specially commissioned by the Cultural Affairs Bureau for films from a series by the Shanghai Animation Film Studio.

After the Germans' thrilling music comes Tricicle from Spain, surprising the public at the Clementina Leitão Ho Brito Theatre with SIT, a show entirely dedicated to the chair. The history of this ordinary household object is told with humour on 11 and 12 May.

Three musical concerts provide a break from the dramatic emphasis of the MAF itinerary. The first is by the Macao Chinese Orchestra, who on 13 May at the Cultural Centre present works from many regions in China in their Capriccio of the Great Wall, followed by the Macao Orchestra's latest in their Masterworks of Romanticism series, The Mysteries of Elgar, on 18 May. The third is a Cantonese opera for children from the Kaifong Chinese Opera Troupe. The Adventures of Na Tcha in the Eastern Sea will delight the next generation of Cantonese Opera lovers on 19 and 20 May.

The Chinese opera tradition is more and more a hallmark of the MAF. This season it is the Henan Yu Opera Company's 2nd Troupe that brings popular opera from the Mainland with Cheng Ying Saves the Orphan of the Zhao, a well known work to be performed at the Macao Cultural Centre (MCC) on 27 May.

Modern theatre returns on the weekend of 19 and 20 May to compete with the tradition of Chinese opera. In a highlight of the MAF schedule, the Hiu Kok Drama Association recounts the tale of the Man in Fear, a play that “alludes to the time preceding the violent growth of the Macao.” The difficult period in the region's history, now forgotten by many, is brought to mind by this local group at the Clementina Leitão Ho Brito Theatre.

 

Shadows and puppets at Lou Kao Mansion

At the Lou Kao Mansion tradition continues with the fantasy of Wayang Kulit – Balinese Shadow Puppets. From 29 May to 2 June this art form, protected by UNESCO since 2003, travels from the remote islands of Indonesia to Macao to present Sangar Seni Madu Raras.

More roots come to the surface at the old Chinese Mansion in the historic heart of Macao from 19-25 May in the form of Chinese shadows from the Tangshan Theatre Group, who present nine puppet shows dedicated to popular Chinese legends. This ancestral art form, revived in the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty, returns once more to the stage on 26 May, as the legend of one of the most adored goddesses of Macau, Kun Iam, comes to life at the Alegria Cinema.

One of the most anticipated performances of this MAF is presented by the company of famous Canadian director Dulcinea Langfelder. Victoria is theatre at its most genuine. The touching story of an older lady who struggles with memory loss but never loses her enthusiasm for life is not to be missed on 22 and 23 May at the Cultural Centre.

 

Mexico presents its son jarocho

Still more international artists promise lively events in the final days of the MAF. The Austrian Klaus Obermaier is no exception, inviting one and all to witness the multimedia experiment D.A.V.E. on 26 and 27 May. In this show performer Chris Haring fuses disciplines such as dance, visual, video and performance art in an investigation into the limits of the human body.

Compagnie Pál Frenák gives a touch of the avant-garde to the Festival. On 31 May and 1 June Mennono and Fiuk display the dreamlike aesthetic of this group, which draws on the Japanese Butoh tradition while blazing new trails in performing arts technique.

The spectacle that closes the 18th edition of this festival revives the classic Mexican tradition of son jarocho. In a theatrical production akin to Ireland's Riverdance, the performers celebrate one of the most significant expressions of Mexico’s musical culture.

The performing arts contribute further to the MAF itinerary with a series of shows to take place in the north of Macao between 25 and 27 May. International and Chinese artists present a showcase marathon at Iao Hon Square of performances falling just outside the mainstream.

On view in the spaces of two of Macao's most important galleries are feasts of visual arts. The first opens on the first day of the Festival (5 May) and exhibits photographs of the most important moments in the last 100 years of modern Chinese theatre in Macao and the Mainland. The next exhibition opens on 23 May at the Tap Seac Gallery, revealing this year's new visual arts talents. Under the motto “Art – Creativity Unbound”, the 2007 Macao Annual Art Exhibition (I) extends to 8 July.

Also provided are workshops and conferences supporting the events, with the objective of stimulating public interest in the arts. In accordance with a long-standing MAF tradition, rehearsals for some of the performances will be open to the public.

Tickets for the 18th Macao Arts Festival will be available after 10am on 25 March 2007 at all Kong Seng Ticketing outlets. There will be a variety of discount plans (up to 40%). Detailed publicity materials are available at ticket counters.

For more information please check the website of the Cultural Affairs Bureau at www.icm.gov.mo/fam, or call at (853) 399 6699.

Information (853) 2855 5555 in Macao; (852) 2380 5083 in Hong Kong

Online Reservations: www.macauticket.com

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