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News Highlights

Classic love story with a modern twist staged for Shanghai Expo (with photos)

Hong Kong's "director laureate" Fredric Mao staged his cross-boundary music theatre production "The Liaisons", a modern love story, for World Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo) this evening (September 3).

Inspired by master Tong Tik-sang's Cantonese opera classic "The Legend of the Purple Hairpin", "The Liaisons" is a contemporary romance interwoven with traditional characters.

The production, presented by the Hong Kong Arts Festival and Fredric Mao Theatre Project, encompasses drama, storytelling, music and song.

Commissioned and co-produced by the Hong Kong Arts Festival, "The Liaisons" is a highlight of the HKSAR cultural programme for Shanghai Expo.

Tonight's opening performance at the Academy Theatre of the Shanghai Theatre Academy attracted a full house audience. Two more performances will be staged at the same venue over the next two days.

"The Liaisons" features a star-studded production team comprising award-winning screenwriters Felix Chong and Alan Mak ("Infernal Affairs"), composer Leon Ko, Oscar-winning costume designer Tim Yip, and actors Tse Kwan-ho, Josie Ho, Lam Kam-tong and Amy Wu.

Mr Mao said he spent a year researching and preparing the script as well as searching for creative partners and performers.

"I wanted to inject new elements into my production," Mr Mao said.

"I have brought talent from different creative industries together so that we can learn from each other and be inspired to work on a stunning cross-over production."

The exquisite theatre work interprets the romance and enduring love depicted in "The Legend of the Purple Hairpin" in a modern context where life replicates soap operas.

"The language, songs, music, settings, costumes and lighting of the production are all important artistic elements," Mr Mao said.

"The star-studded production cast and the creative team complement each other to achieve the best example of 'total theatre'.

"The whole performance uses modern songs and Western music as well as music from the Cantonese opera to display the uniqueness of Hong Kong theatre."

"The Liaisons" received critical acclaim at its premiere at this year's Hong Kong Arts Festival, which is one of the region's leading cultural events featuring music, theatre, dance, and popular entertainment.

During the Shanghai Expo period, 60 events and activities involving some 100 performances and four visual arts exhibitions are being staged by Hong Kong. They showcase the city's rich culture, modernity and connectivity to the Mainland and to the world.

Other performances in September include "Bank of Communications brings to you: Hong Kong Phil in Beethoven 9" by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra tomorrow (September 4) and "The Will to Build (Revival Version)" by Theatre du Pif on September 24 and 25. "The Will to Build (Revival Version)" is also the opening programme for Hong Kong Cultural Week of the 12th China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

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