By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The annual Macao International Music Festival (MIMF) celebrates its Silver Jubilee this year with an improved budget and promises to bring a wide variety of programmes on an unprecedented scale to fans.
Slated to take place from October 7 to November 5, the 25th edition of the festival encompasses 20 diverse shows ranging from grand opera, musical theatre, symphonic, choral and chamber music to performances in the contemporary, folk, pop, fusion and jazz music genres.
Artists from Germany, Austria, Portugal, Lithuania, Israel, Switzerland, the US, Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong as well as Macau are set to offer a wide range of performances to local audiences and enrich the cultural life of the region.
This year’s MIMF budget is MOP 34 million, up from MOP 27 million in 2010, said the head of Cultural Affairs Bureau (ICM) Ung Vai Meng, in a press conference yesterday.
While keeping to the tradition of holding programmes at World Heritage sites – namely St. Domingo’s Church and Dom Pedro V Theatre – the ICM has decided to add venues like the Mandarin’s House (near Lilau Square) and even Coloane’s Hac Sa Beach to the list of venues.
In addition, the MIMF is for the first time joining hands with the non-profit humanitarian organisation ORBIS to host a charity concert honouring World Sight Day on October 13, at the Macau Cultural Centre.
Performed by Portugal’s early music consorts Ensemble Vocal Introitus and Sete Lágrimas, the concert, ‘Donde Tengo El Amor: The Sacred and the Profane in Mediterranean Traditions’, will see all tickets revenue donated to ORBIS to support its new blindness prevention and treatment project in Nepal.
Inaugurating the festival is a brand new full-scale production of the pop/rock musical ‘Fame’ from Barkley Kalpak Associates, Inc. – the creative team that brought ‘Chicago’ and ‘Guys and Dolls’ to the city in previous seasons.
On October 30, representative heir to China’s national intangible cultural heritage, guqin master Li Xiangting will join celebrated pipa performer Zhao Cong and dizi performer Chen Yue in a ‘Chinese Folk Music Recital’ at the World Heritage-listed Mandarin’s House.
Prior to that Hac Sa Beach will host modern fado singers António Zambujo, and four of Portugal’s female vocalists – Susana Félix, Viviane, Luanda Cozetti and Mafalda Arnauth – as well as the band ‘Ar de Rock’ performing in a free-admission music marathon on the evening of October 29.
Carl Maria von Weber’s opera ‘Der Freischütz’, widely considered as the first important German Romantic opera with its plot based on a German folk legend, will bring this Silver Jubilee season to a close with performances on November 2, 4 and 5.
Asked by a reporter whether the ICM would consider inviting more Macau musicians to debut at the MIMF, Ung said he believed they would have such an opportunity when their capability “has reached an international level”, adding that the bureau followed “very rigorous” criteria when selecting performers.
Meanwhile, the ICM is preparing a one-hour documentary featuring the two MIMF past artistic directors – Adriano Jordão and João Pereira Bastos – plus the current director – Warren Mok, as a way to commemorate the Silver Jubilee.
Rock duo Soler has also been invited to perform in a series of five short videos to introduce the origin, characteristics and highlighted performances of the MIMF.
Both productions will have Chinese, English and Portuguese subtitles and will be shown on You Tube, the ICM website and also TDM channels late September.
Tickets for the MIMF will go on sale on July 24 at all Kong Seng Ticketing outlets. Telephone and online reservations will also begin the same day.