Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto) (HKETO), Ms Emily Mo, today (May 19) attended the seminar and exhibition on Cantonese opera costumes at Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library of the University of Toronto to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The seminar and exhibition are part of the Hong Kong Cantonese Opera Costume Exhibition cum Performance Programme organised by Starlight Chinese Opera Performing Arts Centre.
In delivering the opening remarks at the event, Ms Mo is delighted to attend the Cantonese opera costumes design seminar organised in the Asian Heritage month. “Cantonese opera was included in Hong Kong’s first intangible cultural heritage list and the HKSAR government continues to invest in the city’s hardware and software to promote this cultural heritage,” she said.
“The cultural industries in Hong Kong have been given a boost of confidence by the National 14th Five‑Year Plan for its clear support towards Hong Kong developing into an East‑meets‑West centre for international cultural exchange. To realise our new cultural positioning, the HKSAR Government will work on five directions, including developing world‑class cultural facilities and a pluralistic cultural environment; strengthening our connections with overseas arts and culture organisations; enhancing cultural exchange and co‑operation with the Mainland; leveraging technology as well as nurturing talents,” Ms Mo continued.
Cantonese opera is one of the most popular performing arts in Hong Kong as it is part of the Cantonese culture and heritage. In 2009, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) accepted the joint application of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao governments, and inscribed Cantonese opera onto UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
“The Cantonese Opera Development Fund, set up in 2005, also helps to preserve, promote, and develop Cantonese opera in the city. Recently, the HKSAR Government injected HK$100 million into the Cantonese Opera Development Fund to nurture young Cantonese opera talents and appeal to a young audience,” Ms Mo said.
In addition, the East Kowloon Cultural Centre is expected to be commissioned in phases next year providing more venues for training of arts performers.
Before closing, Ms Mo invited participants to join the celebration events organised by HKETO in the coming months. “This year marks an important milestone for our city as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the Motherland and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. We are organising a broad range of celebration events under the theme of "A New Era - Stability • Prosperity • Opportunity". The series of events will include art exhibitions, business and academic seminars, photo exhibition and more,” Ms Mo said.
At the seminar, Cantonese opera costume designer Ms Mandy Ka-yee Tam from Hong Kong participated virtually and shared her experience in costume design encompassing Chinese and Western elements. Members of the public are invited to enjoy the colourful Cantonese opera costumes at the exhibition at the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library of the University of Toronto till May 31. More information on an upcoming Cantonese opera performance as part of the Programme, as well as the series of HKETO’s 25A celebration events are available at the dedicated website (https://25a.hketo.ca/).