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Hong Kong Sinfonietta presents rousing finale to Hong Kong Week for Shanghai Expo (with photos)

The Hong Kong Sinfonietta together with other leading performers provided a grand finale tonight (October 22) to Hong Kong Week for Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo).

Their dazzling interpretation of Igor Stravinsky's masterpiece "A Soldier's Story" was well received and with attendance of 98%.

The crossover production is the closing performance for the HKSAR cultural programme for Shanghai Expo as well as a highlight of the Hong Kong Cultural Week of the 12th China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

Narrated in Putonghua, "A Soldier's Story" was staged at the Oriental Concert Hall of the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre.

A superb concert fusing dance, drama and music, the collaborative venture brought together Asia's renowned conductor and music director Yip Wing-sie, choreographer Yuri Ng, narrator Chu Pak-him, celebrated dancers Huang Lei, Shirai Tsuyoshi, Jay Jen Loo and Abby Chan, and lighting designer Billy Chan.

Premiered in 2005, the production has won critical acclaim for its interpretation. It was re-staged in 2007 and won the Hong Kong Dance Award in 2008.

Ms Yip Wing-sie said that new elements had been included in different performances. For the Shanghai Expo version, the concert included two of Stravinsky's other musical gems - "Three Pieces for Clarinet" featuring principal clarinet Johnny Fong, and "Jeu de Cartes" (Card Game).

Igor Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale" is about a soldier trading his fiddle to the devil for a book of fortune.

With Yuri Ng's magical touch, the fable is given a new contemporary connotation with the soldier being replaced by a modern businessman and the commercial world providing the setting.

He has also blended the seemingly autonomous parties – the orchestra, the dancers and the narrator.

"Yuri simplifies the original story and translates some of the dialogue into dance so that the performance is more enjoyable," Ms Yip said.

"The orchestra, dancers, narrator and even the conductor are part of the performance manipulating the story's development.

"The performance is a music concert as well as a show."

For programme details, please visit the Event Calendar section on Hong Kong's Expo website, www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk.