EVERY MAY, MACAU holds an arts festival that brings a series of cultural activities to showcase and promote both local and foreign talents in theatre, dance, music and arts.
We had the opportunity to attend the 21st Macau Arts Festival on 28th May 2010. That year, our trip included a visit to the Macau Museum to view the exhibition of “Traveller’s Home: Master Works by George Chinnery”. Chinnery was a British painter who made Macau his base in 1825 until his death in 1852.
In Macau Museum for the exhibition of “Traveller’s Home: Master Works by George Chinnery”.
We also visited Mandarin’s House, the ancestral home of prominent Chinese literary figure Zheng Guanying and his descendents. It is believed to have been built before the year 1869 (at least 141 years old at the time of our visit). At 4,000 sqm, it is said to be the largest private residence in Macau. Over time, lack of conservation and maintenance and even fire were said to have caused significant damage to the property. In 2001, the Macao government got proprietorship of the residence and began restoration works. (Source: http://www.wh.mo/mandarinhouse/en/)
Today, Mandarin’s House is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list that makes up Historic Centre of Macau.
At the Mandarin’s House, we were led through its Moon Gate, walked a longish path called the Sedan Way, towards the Ronglu Hallway. We toured the interior of the two-storey building, and its exterior, including the main garden and front courtyard. It was pointed out that the entrances of the house in the compound all face the northeast. Our attention was also directed to the home’s decorative motifs, predominantly Chinese in style infused with western influences.
Dinner was hosted by the Macau Cultural Centre at Macau Tower; Seen here is President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau, Mr Ung Vai Meng.
After dinner, we headed to Macau Cultural Centre’s Grand Auditorium where we were dazzled by Ballet Rakatan, a two-hour performance of jazz, mambo, bolero, cha-cha, rumba and salsa lively dance and music that showcased Cuban culture and passion. This Sadler’s Wells & Congas Productions won the Five Stars Award for its performance at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006.
The annual Macau Arts Festival is organised by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau SAR Government.
The year before, we also managed to catch part of the programme of the 20th Macau Arts Festival on 3rd May 2009. We saw the artworks of two artists at their studios.
That evening we caught an opera by Macau-born composer Lam Bun-Ching at the Dom Pedro V Theatre. Titled “Wenji: Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute”, this contemporary chamber opera (written to be performed with a chamber ensemble rather than a full orchestra) which incorporated traditional Chinese opera with western music, is based on a true story of a poet/musician Cai Wenji from the Han Dynasty.