Datong: The Chinese Utopia
Be the first inhabitants of a Chinese Utopia at this chamber opera’s European première.
27 & 28 July 2017 (Thu & Fri); 2:30pm & 7:30pm respectively
£35.90 - £49.90 (Fees apply)
– Financial Times
“The witty libretto by acclaimed playwright and filmmaker Evans Chan, provides much food for thought, balancing the essential exploration of the characters’ psyches with the need for historical exposition...the score offers embellishment and commentary every bit as witty as the text.”
– Bachtrack ★★★★
“Dream idea takes a special ride on time machine”
– South China Morning Post
The European première of CHAN Hing-yan’s three-act chamber opera Datong: The Chinese Utopia is presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) and produced by the Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF). Chronicling the 20th-century Chinese scholar KANG Youwei’s life and his vision for a global utopia of human equality and solidarity, Datong touches on Chinese philosophy and transports audiences to another time and place with fabulous voices and music.
Datong features a stellar cast of home-grown Hong Kong singers and musicians at the start of their international careers, accompanied by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble under the baton of LIO Kuokman, formerly Assistant Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Laureate of the 2014 Evgeny Svetlanov Conducting Competition in France.
This sell-out production was premièred at the Hong Kong City Hall in March 2015 as part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival.
Musicians & Performers
Evans CHAN Librettist
CHAN is a New York-based critic and independent filmmaker. His award-winning films has been shown at international festivals, including To Liv(e) (1991), Sorceress of the New Piano (2004), and The Rose of the Name: Writing Hong Kong (2014). His docu-drama about KANG Youwei, Datong: The Great Society, received the 2011 Chinese-language Movie of the Year Award, presented by Southern Metropolitan Daily, for “returning fuller memories and humanity to Chinese history”. His book, The Last of the Chinese, received the Best Critical Essay Prize at the 2000 Hong Kong Literary Bi-annual.
CHAN Hing-yan Composer
CHAN Hing-yan is currently Professor of Music at The University of Hong Kong. His recent commissioned works included compositions in the concert Hong Kong Odyssey (2017) and two three-act chamber operas, Datong: The Chinese Utopia (2015) and Heart of Coral – after the life of Xiao Hong (2013). CHAN was conferred the Best Artist Award (Music) at the Hong Kong Arts Development Award 2013 by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. He also received commendation for "Persons with Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Arts and Culture" in the Secretary for Home Affairs’ Commendation Scheme in 2008.
TANG Shu-wing Director
Renowned director and former Dean of the School of Drama of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. TANG Shu-wing is the current Artistic Director of Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio. TANG has directed over 50 pieces of drama, dance theatre and opera productions, including Macbeth, Antigone, Titus Andronicus, Thunderstorm and Datong: The Chinese Utopia. TANG has awarded as Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Director (three times) in Hong Kong Drama Awards; l’Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication; Award for Arts Achievement (Drama) by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Chief Executive’s Commendation for Community Service Award, Outstanding Achievement in Direction for Dance of Hong Kong Dance Awards, Best Artist of the Year Award (Drama) of Hong Kong Arts Development Council (2013) and Honorary Fellow of Lingnan University of Hong Kong .
Praised by the American press as "a startling conducting talent", former Assistant Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra LIO Kuokman has not only conducted internationals orchestras but also opera productions, including Turandot, Carmen, Cavalleria rusticana, Il trovatore, Rigoletto, and the Hong Kong Arts Festival commissions chamber operas Heart of Coral and Datong: The Chinese Utopia and concert Hong Kong Odyssey. LIO has received a Certificate of Commendation from the Hong Kong Secretary for Home Affairs and Medal of Cultural Merit from the government of Macau and was a laureate at the 3rd Svetlanov International Conducting Competition in France with Second Prize, Audience Prize and Orchestra Prize.
Hong Kong Arts Festival
Launched in 1973, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is a major international arts festival committed to enriching the cultural life of the city. The Festival also commissions and produces work in theatre, music, chamber opera and contemporary dance by Hong Kong’s own creative talents and emerging artists, many of which have had successful subsequent runs both locally and overseas.