The third Lingnan Arts Festival was held on 4-22 March, bringing renowned artists from Hong Kong and other parts of the world to showcase their talents on campus. This year the annual gala featured an array of performances, exhibitions, lectures and seminars on Cantonese opera, Chinese and Western music, theatre, fashion, independent films and local art development.
Lingnan Arts Festival 2013 opened on 4 March with an introduction to Cantonese opera by Hong Kong Young Talent Cantonese Opera Troupe. Following an overview of the roles and performing elements of Cantonese opera by renowned actor and Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Young Talent Cantonese Opera Troupe Mr Lee Lung, members of the troupe demonstrated singing, acting, martial arts and a fully dressed performance of an excerpt from The Warrior’s Marriage. Some Lingnan students were also invited to participate in stage make-up, singing and “horse riding” sessions on the stage.
As another highlight of our programmes, a Philharmonic Concert was co-presented with Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra on 8 March. Leading musicians from the Orchestra, the largest symphony orchestra in Hong Kong, performed Western classical pieces, including Beethoven’s Egmont: Overture and excerpts from Gynt, i.e. Ingrid’s Lament, In the Hall of the Mountain King, Ase’s Death, Morning Mood, Arabian Dance, Anitra’s Dance, Peer Gynt’s Homeward Journey and Solveig’s Song, directing the audience to the Story of Peer Gynt.
Ms Amy Wong, Hong Kong fashion designer and founder of Amy’c Clothing Design, was invited to speak on “Chinese qipao and Hong Kong Daily Life” on 5 March. Originated from the Qing Dynasty, qipao was the fashion of urban ladies in Republican China. Although qipao is now replaced by Western garments in the modern wardrobe, its symbolism of the beauty of the Orient persists. Ms Wong pointed out that qipao’s standing collar and slim-cut design showcases not only the fineness and daintiness of Oriental women but also their discreetness and tolerance. Later enhancements to the details of qipao also indicated the rising social status of women. In addition, Ms Wong has designed three pieces of qipao based on the theme of funeral to express her remembrance of Prof Leung Ping-kwan (Yesi), late Chair Professor of Comparative Literature of the Department of Chinese and director of the Centre for Humanities Research at Lingnan.
Nanyin is a traditional musical performing art of Guangdong province mostly performed by visually impaired musicians in the early days. While nanyin is now widely adopted in Cantonese opera and operatic singing, its original form as an independent performing art is often neglected. Acclaimed nanyin master, 87-year-old Ng Wing-mui (Mui-E) was invited by Dr Yu Siu-wah, Associate Professor in Music of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, to perform a famous nanyin piece Mourning Qiuxi at the Fong Yim Fun Distinguished Lecture in Chinese Cultural Studies 2013 entitled “Revisiting the Practice and Aesthetics of Cantonese Music of a Bygone Era – The Artistry of Mui-E”. The music accompaniment was performed by Mui-E’s student Elly Leung, renowned musician Ho Kang-ming, Chinese flutist Chan Chi-chun and Dr Yu. Before the performance, Dr Yu gave an overview on the musical features of nanyin and its development in Hong Kong. He stressed that participation and observation, as well as the cultivation of a diversified soundscape, is crucial to the understanding and conservation of traditional music.