This October, the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao SAR Government (CAB) will unveil the new music season with the 19th Macao International Music Festival, which is scheduled to run from 7th October to 6th November 2005. This year festival will feature 16 different programmes over a total of 24 performances. The Macao International Music Festival (MIMF) brings annually internationally renowned artists from all over the world to Macau, and has gradually evolved into the major musical event in the territory. The MIMF seeks to promote a balanced range of events in order to reflect the diversity and uniqueness of Macao and seeks also to enrich its cultural life while meeting the expectations and aspirations of the community. This year’s programme is vast and rich, and embraces opera, symphonic music, chamber music, contemporary music, pop and modern music, and offers one more dynamic encounter between East and West. Opera is the ‘flagship’ of the MIMF and this year the Festival presents Madama Butterfly - one of the most popular operas by Giacomo Puccini - with libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on the play of the same name by David Belasco (7th to 9th October inclusive with subtitles in Chinese, Portuguese and English). The opera features an international cast and will be performed by The Macao Orchestra and the Fujiwara Opera Chorus, conducted by Alberto Veronesi, in a co-production by the Fujiwara Opera (Japan) and the CAB, under the direction of Yasushiko Aguni. In addition to opera, MIMF presents the evergreen musical West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein (1st/ 2nd/ 4th/ 5th/ 6th November). Produced by The Broadway Asia Company, Inc. and the CAB, the play features the Macao Orchestra and a cast from New York, and is undoubtedly one of the premier attractions of the event. The Macao Orchestra will also perform the Centenary of the Birth of Xiang Xinghai Commemorative Concert (16th October) and City of the Name of God of Macau – Contemporary Music Concert featuring two world premieres by Macao-born composer Lam Bun Ching and American composer Eli Marshall (19th October). Several world-renowned artists will participate in the event: outstanding pianist Ivo Pogorelich will deliver a recital (29th October); the outstanding Borodin String Quartet from Russia returns to Macao to give two concerts on the occasion of its 60th anniversary (14th and 15th October); renowned Cuban singer Omara Portuondo and her band presents her latest album Flor de Amor (18th October); (23rd and 24th October); and the exceptional Swiss based Camerata de Lausanne, conducted by Pierre Amoyal (28th October). Performances range from Canadian artists Julie Nesrallah and Daniel Bolshoy’s voice and guitar recital (12th October); American The Romeros-Classical Guitar Quartet performance (26th October); the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (29th October); the American ensemble Empire Brass (3rd November); the Portuguese composer Rodrigo Leão’s Cinema performance (21st October); to two concerts by the Macao Chinese Orchestra: 10th Anniversary of the Death of Teresa Deng featuring Chinese pop singers Fong Yi Kee from Hong Kong and Tsai Xing Juan from Taiwan (22nd and 23rd October); and The Macau Chinese Orchestra and Katia Guerreiro, featuring the remarkable Portuguese Fado singer in a unique combination of Fado and Chinese instruments (27th October). Pang Ka Pang will conduct both concerts. Chinese traditional music is represented by the The Oriental Angels ensemble, composed by five Chinese female virtuosi, whose repertoire includes classical and modern works emphasizing especially the combination of Chinese instruments and world music (30th October). In keeping with the Cultural Institute’s policy of promoting heritage sites throughout the city, several concerts will be staged in representative sites of Macao’s cultural and architectonic heritage, now proudly inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Ruins of St. Paul’s, Mount Fortress, St. Dominic’s Church, Cathedral and Dom Pedro V Theatre will serve as stunning backdrops. Performances will also take place in venues representative of the city’s modernity, such as the Macao Cultural Centre, where the public may benefit from the extraordinary acoustics and convenience offered by this state-of-the-art facility, and the Macao Tower auditorium. The MIMF also includes an extensive programme of workshops, open rehearsals and master classes targeted specifically at students, to take advantage of the fact that experienced professionals in several different areas are on hand, aiming at helping youngsters to understand, learn and appreciate music, its different languages and genres. CAB believes that the large diversity of performances, workshops and master classes on offer by established artists, plus ticket discounts, will stimulate the participation of Macao’s younger generation and permit a valuable contact with classical music whilst cultivating aestheticism and creativity. Every year, the MIMF attracts audiences from all over the world. In addition to the Macau Government Tourist Office’s overseas representative agencies, the CAB has taken a step further to strengthen its cooperation with China and Hong Kong by signing a contract with China National Radio, Canton Radio, Hong Kong Metro Broadcasting Corporation Ltd. and Guangzhou Daily to distribute MIMF news and information to residents all over China. In order to attract more mainland music lovers, MIMF has launched a ticket booking hotline and set up four ticket sales and pick-up counters in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongshan and Zhuhai in the Pearl River Delta region. N.b: In special cooperation with the 2005 East Asian Games Organizing Committee, the CAB will extend the musical West Side Story for a further two days. Tickets for the Festival will be available for reservation and sales from 7th August 2005 at 10:00am at Kong Seng Ticketing outlets; tickets are reasonably priced from MOP80 to MOP400 with discounts available under certain conditions: 40% discount for tickets for four different performances bought at the same time or for four different performances of the same show; group bookings for 10 or more tickets bought at the same time; and holders of Senior Citizen Cards. Holders of full-time Student Cards also benefit from a 40% discount, although this is restricted to the cheapest seats. There will be a special offer of a 20% discount for holders of Teachers Cards and Youth Cards. The tickets for church performances are free of charge and will be distributed from 7th August at the same outlets but are limited to two tickets per person per pickup. For further information on the MIFM, please contact the CAB via the Festival hotline on (853) 3996699 or visit www.icm.gov.mo/fimm or email firstname.lastname@example.org.