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"A Soldier's Story" to bring down the curtain on Hong Kong Week for Shanghai Expo (with photos)

The Hong Kong Sinfonietta will provide a rousing finale to Hong Kong Week for World Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo) on October 22 with its unique interpretation of "A Soldier's Story".

The crossover production features an unprecedented combination of top artistic talent from music, dance and drama.

"A Soldier's Story" is also the closing performance for the HKSAR cultural programme for Shanghai Expo as well as a highlight of Hong Kong Cultural Week at the 12th China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

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

Premiered in 2005,the production has won critical acclaim for its interpretation and picked up the Hong Kong Dance Award in 2008.

In Shanghai, the collaborative venture will bring 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.

Based on a Russian folk tale, Igor Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale" is about a soldier trading his fiddle to the devil for a book of fortune. Hong Kong Sinfonietta and the artists transformed this piece into a story with contemporary connotations. In this version, the soldier is replaced by a modern businessman and the commercial world provides the setting.

According to Hong Kong Sinfonietta's music director and conductor Yip Wing-sie, the production is refreshing with Yuri Ng's direction and choreography.

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

Yuri Ng 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."

The concert also includes two of Stravinsky's other musical gems - "Three Pieces for Clarinet" featuring principal clarinet Johnny Fong and "Jeu de Cartes" (Card Game).

Ms Yip added: "Stravinsky is one of my favourite composers ever. This concert will showcase his works of different scales: a solo instrumental work, a work for full orchestra and a chamber work.

"'The Soldier's Tale' was written during World War I, with the entire production costs sponsored by philanthropist/amateur clarinettist Werner Reinhart, to whom Stravinsky dedicated 'Three Pieces for Clarinet' as a token of thanks.

"'Jeu de Cartes', written for full orchestra, tells another story of how a man gambles his soul away."

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

"A Soldier's Story"
Date: October 22, 2010
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Oriental Concert Hall, Shanghai Oriental Art Centre
Length: Approx 2 hours
Narration in Putonghua
Ticket price: RMB 580(VIP), 380, 280, 180, 100
Online booking: www.festivalclub.org
Programme enquiries:
Hong Kong Sinfonietta (852) 2836 3336
The Centre for China Shanghai International Arts Festival (86 21) 6272 0440