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People's Daily Online>>Life & Culture

Rites of Spring

By Rebecca Lo  (China Daily)

10:16, April 16, 2012

Ballet de L' Opera National de Bordeaux stages dual shows. Photos Provided to China Daily

The 20th edition of Le French May returns to Hong Kong and Macao. Rebecca Lo reports.

Le French May has topped the annual agenda of every Francophile east of Europe with good reason.

Ever since it was first conceived by Hong Kong's former consul general Laurent Aublin in 1993, it has brought together a bevy of Gallic events, performances and exhibitions running the gamut from haute to street. With increasingly more French companies realizing that the Chinese market craves all things Francaise, this year's 20th edition of Le French May is pulling out all the stops.

Le French May is organized by the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macao in collaboration with the Alliance Francaise and supported by Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

This year, it runs for three months across every corner of Hong Kong and Macao, with more participating local businesses and venues than ever before partnering with beloved French brands.

It was current French consul general Arnaud Barthelemy's mandate to get more people interested in the festival - including those who have never stepped inside of an art gallery before.

"This year is a landmark program," says Barthelemy, nodding at Hong Kong Sinfonietta's conductor and music director Yip Wing-sie in the audience during a press conference.

He was referencing her opening concert held on April 12 at Hong Kong City Hall, where she guided French violist Lise Berthaud in Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante.

Yip conducts two other concerts featuring Berlin Philharmonic's concertmaster and violinist Daishin Kashimoto on April 14 and pianist Jean-Claude Pennetier on April 27, both at City Hall.

The first thing on most art lovers' checklist is Crme de la Crme from May 19 to July 22.

Spanish artist Pablo Picasso's best work for a total value of HK$6.7 billion ($863 million) from Paris' Muse National Picasso will be at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Shatin. Some 48 oils and seven sculptures from his eight decade-long career make up the exhibition, including his 1970 Seated Girl.

"The Picasso exhibition is the largest display of the master's work ever shown in Hong Kong," notes Barthelemy.

In Macao, Macao Museum of Art will include a major exhibition of contemporary artist Jean-Michel Othoniel's work in My Way.

Although many know Othoniel from his commercial installations such as the oversized pearls suspended in the Chanel boutique at Hong Kong's Prince's Building, the exhibition includes the French artist's work from his breakout period in the 1980s.

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