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News Highlights

Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra performs to a packed house in Shanghai (with photos / video)

Under the baton of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Yan Huichang, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (HKCO) has played to a packed house of more than 1,000 people at the Shanghai Concert Hall tonight (May 15).

The enchanting music was played with "snake-friendly, eco-huqins", echoing Shanghai Expo's slogan of "Better City, Better Life".

Mr Yan Huichang said that although the HKCO had performed in Shanghai before, the performance tonight had special significance for the orchestra and himself because through the concert, the orchestra acted as Hong Kong's cultural ambassadors for the Chinese and foreign audience during Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo).

"Hong Kong and Shanghai are developing their respective advantages and interacting cooperatively," he said.

"Shanghai Expo has offered a good chance for the cultural and arts sectors of the two cities to exchange ideas.

"Since the founding of the orchestra 33 years ago, we have been committed to offering excellence in Chinese music.

"Performing at Shanghai Expo is a good chance to show to people from around the world that Hong Kong, other than a shopping paradise, converges talent and dedication of professional music groups such as the HKCO."

The "Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra Concert" is one of the HKSAR's Programmes for Shanghai Expo. The performance tonight was a great success with an attendance rate of over 90%.

The concert saw the orchestra's first collaboration with the renowned Japanese violinist Ms Akiko Suwanai, who was the youngest winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition.

The work she played tonight was the famous violin concerto "The Butterfly Lovers".

The audience also enjoyed the "Three Melodies of West Yunnan" by internationally recognised composer Mr Guo Wenjing; the pipa and orchestral piece "A Thousand Sweeps" by Hong Kong composer Mr Law Wing-fai and performed by versatile pipa artist, Ms Wong Chi-ching; and Mr Cheng Dazhao's "The Yellow River Capriccio" in which the audience had joined in to create a rousing finale.

The HKCO played their music tonight with about 40 snake-friendly "eco-huqins". The bowed-stringed instruments were made with polyethylene terephthalate instead of python skin that has been used traditionally.

Following the "Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra Concert", the Hong Kong Ballet will present its "Summer Delights" programme at the Oriental Opera Hall, Shanghai Oriental Art Center on June 4.

During the six-month Shanghai Expo period, the Hong Kong SAR will stage 26 programmes with over 70 performances as well as four visual arts exhibitions.

The groups will perform at major Shanghai venues including the Shanghai Grand Theatre, Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, Shanghai Theatre Academy and Shanghai Concert Hall.

Information on ticketing as well as other performances and exhibitions is available on Hong Kong at World Expo 2010 website, www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk.