What To Watch At Huayi – Chinese Festival Of Arts, From Free Concerts To International Stage Performances
The annual arts extravaganza returns with a bang with both free and ticketed programmes.
There’s no need to travel out of Singapore to experience festive fun and belly laughs in the Year of the Rabbit, because Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts will be back from 27 Jan – 5 Feb 2023.
Launched in 2003 during the Lunar New Year, the pinnacle arts festival returns at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Merrymakers can expect an entertaining line-up of theatre, dance, and music programmes by outstanding Chinese artists from Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and more.
If you’re in need of recommendations, here are five festival highlights — both paid and free — to start with.
ART by Godot Theatre Company (Taiwan)
After touring six cities in Taiwan and headlined by popular TV personalities Pu Hsueh-liang, Chu Chung Heng and Tseng Kuo Chen, ART is making its local debut here in Singapore.
Families and friends looking to have a great time will appreciate how the adaptation of French playwright Yasmina Reza’s celebrated play is peppered with humour as it explores the complexities of friendships with three bosom buddies who are in danger of falling out over an expensive piece of “art”. Tickets from $38.
When: Jan 27-29, 8pm (Fri and Sat) and 3pm (Sun)
Where: Esplanade Theatre
Earl Grey Teh C – Gah Dai!
Homegrown talent? Check. Show your support for Singapore’s very own Lorong Boys — the instrumental band will be showcasing their musical chops with a fab line-up of popular Chinese favourites. You’ll get the best of both worlds in one concert too — world champion harmonicist Gordon Lee from Hong Kong will be joining forces with them. Get ready to be serenaded by fusion music mash-ups like Ambush From All Sides in the style of a jazz waltz, and a samba-influenced rendition of Silence Is Gold. Tickets from $30.
When: Feb 3-4, 7.30pm
Where: Esplanade Recital Studio
An Evening with Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra
Chinese orchestra lovers, listen up. One of the world’s top Chinese orchestras — led by Singapore Cultural Medallion recipient and Artistic Director Yan Huichang — will be in town to present an evening of melodious tunes.
All you’ll have to do is sit back and relax as they present a joyous evening that begins with the jubilance of The Chorale of Spring to celebrate the arrival of the Lunar New Year, as well as festive favourites like acclaimed composer Zhao Jiping’s Pipa Concerto No. 2, Wang I-Yu's Reeds and Tan Dun’s Northwest Suite No. 1. Tickets from $30.
When: Jan 28, 7.30pm
Where: Esplanade Concert Hall
Every Brilliant Thing
Following a sold-out run during Huayi 2022, award-winning playwright Oliver Chong — repping local theatre company The Finger Players — returns to the festival with a renewed staging of Every Brilliant Thing, a thought-provoking story about a boy who makes a list of all things brilliant about the world to lift his mother’s spirits.
And here’s the unique thing about the performance — no two are the same, as audience members will be invited to participate by taking on various characters and help shape the protagonist’s journey. Tickets from $30.
When: Feb 2-5, 8pm (Thur, Fri, Sat) and 3pm (Sat and Sun)
Where: Esplanade Theatre Studio
Gifted by The Wanted
A fan of a cappella music? Then you shouldn’t miss out on Taiwanese a capella group The Wanted’s performance at the festival. The group is known for its experimentation with vocal effects and electronic elements, and their talent has not gone unnoticed — they won the 32nd Golden Melody Award for the Best Vocal Group. And believe it or not, admission is absolutely free for their sets at Huayi.
When: Jan 28, 7.30pm and 9pm
Where: Esplanade Outdoor Theatre
For more info, head over to Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s website. Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay is at 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981.