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Hong Kong's Thriving Arts Scene

A guide to the cultural scene in Hong Kong, emphasizing classical music.

It's been a busy month in Hong Kong, arguably the arts capital of Asia.

Hong Kong always has a wide range of concerts and activities reflecting its various cultural links, and this month has been no different.

Some of the highlights have been:

- concerts by the esteemed Chinese Central Ensemble of National Music which is making its first visit to HK, presenting concerts in September of traditional and classical Chinese music accompanied by authentic instruments.

- a fascinating concert of music for the Ruan, a Chinese plucked instrument, by Ning Yong from China... interesting music by an acknowledged master.

- performances of the Phanton of the Opera, which have been a real success in HK. This is a lavish production given the ful scale Broadway treatment, at the Grand Theatre of the HK Cultural Centre at Tsim Sha Tsui (a wonderful venue, by the way, overlooking the harbour)

- a visit by the Cirilo and Anyi group from South America presenting tradional music from the Andes

- concerts by the HK Ballet of ballet favourites including Swan Lake.

- the usual Cantonese opera performances which are certainly spirited but are perhaps something of an acquired taste: HK is famous for its Cantonese opera, and it has its own troupe. It also has one of the best Chinese orchestras around, and this group has toured widely.

Hong Kong often features visiting artists, including ensembles such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra which has yet to tour Australia or New Zealand. As such Hong Kong is starting to assume pre-emiment status in Asia as "the" cultural centre.

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