The Hong Kong Ballet | The Merry Widow

April 17, 2013

Press Releases

The Hong Kong Ballet | The Merry Widow

Jin Yao, Brett Simon

Jin Yao, Brett Simon
Photography: Jimmy Chan

Maybe money can buy you love…

Adapted from Franz Lehár’s romantic operetta of the same name

The Merry Widow has become renowned as a witty and entertaining classic since its world première by The Australian Ballet in 1975. Set during Paris’s glorious heyday, this ballet presents an irresistible mix of comedy and romance. The Merry Widow combines a funny, easy-to-follow story with amusing characters and a heart-warming love story. Experience this fun, flirty ballet at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre’s Grand Theatre from 14th – 16th June 2013 (5 performances).

The story begins at a Grand Ball, hosted by the Pontevedrian Embassy in Paris. Pontevedro is almost bankrupt, so the country’s diplomats hatch a plan to make the rich and beautiful Pontevedrian widow Hanna Glawari fall in love again with her old flame and fellow countryman Prince Danilo. This will ensure that the widow’s wealth remains in Pontevedro, and will save the country from ruin. As the festivities begin, the stage is set for a whirlwind of decadence, love, and intrigue.

Ronald Hynd’s choreography will showcase the entire Company with its swirling waltzes, intimate pas de deux, and the French can-can. The lavish décor and glamorous gowns designed by Desmond Heeley are complemented by Franz Lehár’s enchanting music to offer you a feast of Parisian charm and romance of days gone by. The action on stage will be further enhanced by live accompaniment by Hong Kong Sinfonietta, led by guest conductor Phillip Ellis.

The Merry Widow was first performed by The Hong Kong Ballet’s repertoire back in 2007, shortly after John Meehan took up his post as Artistic Director of the Company. This time around, Meehan will be returning to Hong Kong to stage the ballet and rehearse the dancers. This is a ballet that carries great significance for the former Artistic Director; when choreographer Ronald Hynd created The Merry Widow for The Australian Ballet in 1975, the role of the male lead was created specifically for John Meehan who was a Principal Dancer at the time. Subsequently, Meehan went on to perform the ballet many times on tour, partnering the incomparable Margot Fonteyn in the role of Hanna. On 4th June, 2013, together with the current Artistic Director Madeleine Onne he will share with the audience the ideas and inspiration behind this ballet. There will also be a dance preview performed by the Company’s dancers.

Box office opens 15th April 2013. Tickets are available at all URBTIX outlets and via the URBTIX website. Suitable for adults and children (ages 6 and above) alike.

The Merry Widow

14th-16th June, 2013 7:30PM
15th -16th June, 2013 2:30PM
Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

$1000 (VIP), $600, $400, $260, $140
Tickets are now available at URBTIX
Ticketing enquiries 2734 9009
Credit card booking 2111 5999
Programme enquiries 2105 9724

Choreography: Ronald Hynd
Répétiteur: John Meehan
Scenario: Sir Robert Helpmann
Based on the operetta by Victor Léon & Leo Stein
Music: Franz Lehár
Arranged and orchestrated by John Lanchbery
Presented by arrangement with GLOCKEN VERLAG LIMITED
Set & Costume Design: Desmond Heeley
Lighting: Billy Chan
Live Accompaniment: Hong Kong Sinfonietta
Conductor: Philip Ellis

Produced by kind permission of The Australian Ballet


A Preview of The Merry Widow

John Meehan, former Artistic Director of The Hong Kong Ballet, was the original male lead in The Merry Widow when it was premiered by The Australian Ballet in 1975. He will visit Hong Kong to stage the ballet for us again, and together with our current Artistic Director Madeleine Onne he will share with the audience the ideas and inspiration behind this ballet. There will also be a dance preview performed by the Company’s dancers.

Date: 4.6.2013
Time: 7:30PM-8:45PM
Venue: Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Suitable for ages 6 and above. Conducted in English. Free admission.
Limited audience capacity, advanced registration required.

Registration & Enquiries 2105 9724 /

Pre-performance Talk

Date: 14.6.2013
Time: 6:50PM
Venue: Level 2 Foyer, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

The programme is about 20 minutes long.
Free admission with The Merry Widow tickets.
Conducted in English with Cantonese translation.

Backstage Tour

Date: 15.6.2013
Time: After matinée performance
Venue: Grand Theatre Backstage, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Only for ticket holders who are Friends of The Hong Kong Ballet. Advanced registration required.

About The Hong Kong Ballet

One of the premier classical ballet companies in Asia, The Hong Kong Ballet is becoming internationally recognised as a world-class institution with an identity that fully reflects the unique vitality of Hong Kong. The Company turns 34 in 2013, and over time has evolved into a vibrant performing arts organisation with accomplished dancers, a strong repertoire, and sparkling, technically challenging productions.

The Company’s artistic team is led by Artistic Director Madeleine Onne, with over 40 dancers originating from all over the world. The Company performs a repertoire that combines classical masterpieces and acclaimed contemporary works from the 19th to 21st centuries, as well as new commissions. Since 1997, The Hong Kong Ballet has raised its international profile by conducting over 30 tours; in the summer of 2012, The Hong Kong Ballet toured the United States and Canada, performing at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and in Aspen, Montreal and Santa Fe. An integral part of the Company’s activities is an extensive education and community outreach programme, which brings the art of ballet to students as well as to the wider community of Hong Kong.

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