Only a few more hours until the Bolshoi dancers hit the stage of Hong Kong Cultural Centre with their "Flames of Paris". Artem Ovcharenko will sparkle as Antoine Mistral with Nina Kaptsova (Mireille de Poitiers) — the most flamboyant couple of the perfomance!

The annual Hong Kong Arts Festival has been held since 1973, and each year it expands in size and scope. Its ‘norm’ is to present from 130-150 performances in the course of just over a month (this year the Festival runs from 27 February to 29 March). The program includes both opera, ballet, musicals, dramatic theater productions, concerts of classical music, as well as jazz and even circus numbers. It also embraces 100 plus activities in community locations each year to enhance engagement between artists and audiences: these include exhibitions, master-classes, educative programs for children, competitions, workshops, meeting-the-artist sessions, open rehearsals, discussions, and also thematic ‘backstage’ excursions which make it possible to assess the work of stenographers at close quarters.

The following are among the many artists and orchestras who/which, in different years, have appeared at the Festival: Cecilia Bartoli, José Carreras, Mikhail Barishnikov, Sylvie Guillem, Yo-Yo Ma, Jordi Savall, Nikolai Znaider, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Maria João Pires, András Schiff, Yuri Bashmet, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, L’Orchestre Nationale de France, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Il Giardino Armonico, Les Arts Florissants.

The following Companies have presented their productions: La Scala, Mariinsky Theater, Bavarian State Opera, Saxon State Opera, Teatro di San Carlo, Naples, LA Opera, Savonlinna Opera Festival, New York City Ballet, ABT, Le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris, Stuttgarter Ballett, Hamburg Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, Le Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Nederlands Dans Theater, Cloud Gate Dance Theater, Théâtre Equestre Zingaro, The Royal Shakespeare Company, London’s National Theater, Moscow Art Theater, Taganka Theater. The Festival also actively promotes its own creative talents and emerging artists.

This is not the Bolshoi’s first visit to the Hong Kong Arts Festival — in 2002, it presented "Boris Godunov" and "The Love of the Three Oranges" in Hong Kong. Today, thirteen years later, they are presenting both our Opera Company, in the recently renovated ‘golden treasury’ production "The Tsar’s Bride", as well as our Ballet Company — in two 20th century masterpieces (one of the events winding up the Festival program): Balanchine’s neoclassical "Jewels" and Alexei Ratmansky’s rediscovered and revised version of the Soviet era blockbuster "The Flames of Paris".

Among the other 2015 Hong Kong Arts Festival participants are: Dutch National Ballet, London’s Royal Court and Gate Theatres, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Fabio Biondi and his Europa Galante Orchestra, William Christie et Les Arts Florissants Orchestra, Joyce DiDonato, Leonidas Kavakos and many, many other outstanding artists and companies.

Artem Ovcharenko will perform in "The Flames of Paris" (with Nina Kaptsova and Kristina Kretova) and in "Jewels" (leading couple with Nina Kaptsova in "Diamonds"). Check our EVENTS for the dates.

The Bolshoi website

Photo © 2011 Michel Lidvac — Nina Kaptsova as Mireille de Poitiers and Artem Ovcharenko as Antoine Mistral, Opéra Garnier

Read also the dance review from Hong Kong