Shanghai and Hong Kong yesterday launched a joint, week-long cultural celebration with an opera performance, in an effort to bring more of the special administrative region's artists to the mainland's financial capital. Last night's performance of western opera in the Shanghai Grand Theatre marked the beginning of Hong Kong Culture Week, which includes opera, ballet and traditional Chinese musical concerts by Hong Kong performers. 'With Cepa [Closer Economic Co-operation Arrangement] in place and close economic ties, Hong Kong will further strengthen cultural and artistic communication with the mainland,' said Hong Kong Arts Development Council chairman Darwin Chen Tat-man. The event is sponsored by the council and the Shanghai Grand Theatre, which is celebrating its sixth anniversary. Dr Chen said the event could help to increase the transfer of resources, technology and talent between the two cities. Betty Tung Chiu Hung-ping, the wife of Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, met Shanghai government officials and later attended the opera. Yesterday's performance featured prominent singers from Hong Kong and the mainland, including renowned Hong Kong tenor Warren Mok and Shang hai-based tenor Liao Changyong . During the week there will be other performances by the Hong Kong Ballet and a concert of traditional Chinese music presented by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. 'I've just been to Hong Kong and I'm very interested in Hong Kong's art and culture, so that's why I came,' one member of the audience said. However, organisers had cancelled a planned concert by Hong Kong pop singer George Lam Chi-cheung, citing the cost, a spokeswoman for the Shanghai Grand Theatre said. During the week-long event, visual artworks by Hong Kong artists will also be on display at the theatre. Hong Kong's secretary for home affairs, Patrick Ho Chi-ping, will address a culture week ceremony in Shanghai tomorrow.