Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts

New takes on classic works at Huayi festival

Actors Poon Chan Leung (left) and Olivia Yan in God of Carnage.
Actors Poon Chan Leung (left) and Olivia Yan in God of Carnage.PHOTO: KIT CHAN

This year's event features a wide-ranging line-up, from an Eastern take on Macbeth to indie music acts to home-grown singers

This year's Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts, presented by the Esplanade, features a score of adaptations that cut across genres and artforms.

These range from an Eastern satirical take on the timeless Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth by Chinese director Huang Ying to the Singapore Chinese Orchestra's reinterpretation of four seminal Chinese literary works through music.

Then there is a Cantonese version of the Tony and Laurence Olivier award-winning dark comedy God Of Carnage starring Hong Kong actor Anthony Wong, as well as a dance duet between a dancer and a robot in Huang Yi & Kuka.


Music lovers are also in for a treat, as the festival has brought in showcases from indie acts such as Taiwanese electronic pop-rock band Hello Nico to vocalists such as Chinese songstress Gong Linna.

Singapore acts are also in the spotlight - singer Dawn Wong, who has appeared on reality TV singing contests, will present her debut album Marco Lopo, while Mandopop songwriter Chen Jiaming marks the 30th year of his career with an evening of his compositions performed by a group of Singapore singers.

• Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts runs from Feb 12 to 21 at the Esplanade. Tickets from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to For more information, go to

A Chinese Macbeth with insomnia

Chinese director Huang Ying's madcap spin on Shakespeare's Macbeth will be staged next month at the Esplanade. PHOTO: THE ESPLANADE

Macbeth is a besuited young Chinese man speaking colloquial Mandarin. His friend, Banquo, appears in drag in a scene, while his wife, Lady Macbeth, is prone to breaking out into English songs at emotional points.

This is the madcap, original world of an upcoming production of Shakespeare's Macbeth at the Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts.

It is directed by up-and-coming Chinese director Huang Ying, 38, who is known for his playful adaptations of the Bard.


Musical window to Chinese literary classics

Conductor Yeh Tsung's concert gives a glimpse into the four great classical novels of Chinese literature. PHOTO: THE ESPLANADE

From the dramatic Battle Of Red Cliffs, which saw an army of 50,000 toppling a 120,000-strong force in a surprise triumph that heralded the end of the Han dynasty, to the lively exploits of the monkey king Sun Wukong, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra will offer a glimpse of four great classical novels of Chinese literature.

On Feb 20, as part of the Esplanade's Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts, the orchestra will set to music the romance between Jia Baoyu and his cousin Lin Daiyu in Dream Of The Red Chamber, the turmoil of warfare at the Red Cliffs in Romance Of The Three Kingdoms, the tale of Sun Wukong in Journey To The West and the ties of brotherhood in The Water Margin.

The orchestra's music director and conductor Yeh Tsung says with a laugh: "I don't intend to present the four novels in one evening. It's just not possible. So I picked four angles for the audience to look into the stories through music.


HK actor Anthony Wong as a bickering parent

God Of Carnage stars (from left) Poon Chan Leung, Anthony Wong, Louisa So and Olivia Yan. PHOTO: THE ESPLANADE

Hong Kong film veteran and Golden Horse Award winner Anthony Wong is known for playing psychotic villains on screen, but his latest role is something altogether different: a parent in a contemporary Broadway play.

The 54-year-old is starring in acclaimed French playwright Yasmina Reza’s 2006 Tony award-winning black comedy God Of Carnage, which is part of the Esplanade’s Huayi– Chinese Festival of Arts this year. The production is a Cantonese adaptation of the French original.

Wong, an acting graduate from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, set up Dionysus Contemporary Theatre in 2013. Both he and theatre practitioner Olivia Yan, also in this production, are its co-artistic directors.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2016, with the headline 'From the madcap to Mandopop'. Print Edition | Subscribe