Entertainment for all ages
As the end of the year approaches, Hong Kong's calendar of performing arts is packed with events which sell out quickly. Here are some highlights this festive season.
Cirque Mechanics - Birdhouse Factory is a family circus performance with influences from Stomp and the aerial wonders of Cirque de Soleil. The setting for this action-packed Las Vegas show is a factory where the workers are acrobats and the machinery doubles as props. With a team of trapeze artists, trampoline wall artists, acrobat-dancers and comedians, unlikely looking contortions and fun abound.
The show was created in 2004, and was inspired by the slapstick humour of Charlie Chaplin. Several of the artistes in this show formerly performed with Cirque du Soleil and the Moscow Circus. The company has toured in 70 cities in 11 countries around the world. December 3, 4 and 6-10, 7.45pm; matinees on December 3 at 3pm and December 4 at 11am and 4pm. The show takes place at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Lyric Theatre. Tickets cost HK$295-$695 from HK Ticketing. For inquiries, call 25477150 or see www.aba-productions.com
Snowman comes to life
For a quieter but no less entertaining evening, don't miss The Snowman and The Bear. This seasonal special combines film and live orchestral music in a magical combination. The City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong plays the evocative music of Howard Blake's Walking in the Air to accompany two animated films. In the first film, a little boy's snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve, taking him on a snowy adventure. In the second, a little girl takes off on an adventure with a mischievous polar bear. The show lasts for 70 minutes, with a 15-minute interval.
December 10, 2.30pm and 5pm, at Hong Kong City Hall Concert; December 11, 2.30pm at Auditorium, Tsuen Wan Town Hall. Tickets cost HK$75-HK$350 from Urbtix. For more information, see www.ccohk.com.
Classic festive ballet on sumptuous sets
Every year, the Hong Kong Ballet performs The Nutcracker, and every year, audiences continue to be delighted by this perennial favourite, a perfect Christmas treat for all the family. This year, the Hong Kong Ballet is celebrating its 15th year of performing the Nutcracker as created by the company's former artistic director, Stephen Jefferies. The Hong Kong Sinfonietta accompanies, playing Tchaikovsky's much-loved score.
Sumptuous sets and fabulous costumes set the scene for the Christmas tale of Clara and the dashing soldier-nutcracker that comes to life to take her on a magical adventure. December 16-18, 20-21, 22-24 at 7.30pm, and 17-18, 24-26 at 2.30pm at Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Grand Theatre. Suitable for children aged three and older. Tickets cost HK$120-$1,000 from Urbtix. For inquiries, call 21059724
Talks and workshops for dance enthusiasts
In tandem with the performance, the Hong Kong Ballet is organising a host of events and activities related to the ballet. These include a pre-performance talk, in English with Cantonese translation, on December 16 at 6.50pm, Level 2 Foyer, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. On December 17 at midday, the company will host a children's workshop for 4-8 year olds at GR2, 8/F, Grand Theatre Backstage, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. HK$60 per person. Open to all - no dance experience is necessary. A maximum of 40 children can attend, and advance registration is required. Call 21059743, 21059744 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of the Hong Kong Ballet or members of the Hong Kong Ballet Junior Guild can find out what goes on behind the scenes by taking a backstage tour of the theatre. The tour will take place on December 24 after the matinee performance. Advance registration is required. On December 26, ballet fans can meet the stars at an autograph session following the matinee performance at the Level 2 Foyer, Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
Christmas carols with the Philharmonic
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra will perform two traditional shows for the festive season. Just before Christmas, relax to the sounds of traditional carols, plus a few surprises. The uplifting sound of a choir of children's voices is the focus of Symphony of Christmas Angels, a two-hour performance by the Hong Kong Children's Choir, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, soprano Elvira Fatykhova and Jon Dante on trumpet. Under the baton of Guy Noble, the programme features a host of carol favourites and the music of Handel, Mozart, Bizet and others. For ages six and above. December 23-34, 8pm, Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. Tickets HK$70-HK$380 from Urbtix. For inquiries, call 27212030 or see www.hkpo.com.
Waltz in the New Year
On December 30 and 31, the orchestra celebrates the New Year in elegant Viennese style, with A Viennese New Year. The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra plays a two-hour performance of polkas, marches and waltzes by Strauss and other 19th century composers. The conductor is Johannes Wildner, a well-known Austrian conductor. December 30 and 31, 8pm. Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. Tickets HK$140-$400, available from Urbtix. Inquiries: 2721 2030 or see www.hkpo.com.