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date: 23 October 2019

Hong Kong (opera)locked

  • Charles Pitt

Extract

British colony (since 1841) in south-east Asia. It is important as a port and as a banking and commercial centre. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries Hong Kong was visited by various touring opera companies, most of them Italian, and formed part of a circuit that also included Manila, Batavia (now Jakarta), Shanghai and sometimes Singapore. The first visit, in 1870, was by a company led by the impresario Giovanni Pompei. On 28 March they gave Lucia di Lammermoor, followed by Il barbiere di Siviglia, Il trovatore, Don Pasquale, La traviata, La sonnambula, La favorite, Ernani and Rigoletto. Augusto Cagli’s company followed in 1879 and 1880, and that of the Gonsalez brothers in 1915. Performances usually took place in the City Hall (seating 800).

The Hong Kong Festival, founded in 1972, began early on to include opera in its programmes. In 1975 the Swedish Royal Opera gave three performances each of ...

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