French May marks 25th anniversary showcasing unique artworks

Julien-Loïc Garin

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Le French May Arts Festival is slated to bring its “richest in content” event to Hong Kong and Macau from May 1 to June 30.

Under the theme “Celebrating art and life the French Way!”, this year’s edition will showcase national masterpieces from le Louvre, featuring pieces from the royal collections of sculptures and antiques to works by renowned masters of French painting.

Although the 25th anniversary will not feature as many programs compared to previous editions, CEO of Le French May Arts Festival Julien-Loïc Garin is confident that the silver jubilee celebration is greater in terms of the importance and uniqueness of the offerings.

“There are big programs that are coming because of our anniversary,” he told the Times, speaking on the sidelines of the festival’s announcement and champagne testing.

“[As for] what is new, I would say that we developed more general public events focused on lifestyle, not just arts,” Garin continued.

Le French May has selected different genres of shows for this event, including classical music, ballet, jazz and hip-hop.

The program includes the festival’s opening concert – “The Birth of the Sun King,” a lost masterpiece written for the King Louis XIV re-imagined with new media. The concert is the debut performance of Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Hong Kong, and will be held on May 6 at the Hong Kong Cultural Center.

Prior to the concert’s Asian premiere in Hong Kong, the ensemble is slated to hold an open rehearsal and chamber music concerts in Macau on May 4 and 5.

The festival collaborated with the University of Macau and Clube Militar de Macau to hold the aforementioned events.

“In Macau there will be an opening rehearsal; almost the official one but not yet. […] So there’s much more in terms of the performances. It will be much more intimate in format at the Clube Militar,” Garin explained.

When questioned whether the festival has further collaborated with local associations, Garin admitted that no “proper collaborations” were made due to time constraints.

“Because of the time constraints, we don’t really have a proper collaboration but at least the visiting artists will be able to hold master classes and workshops to enhance the knowledge and the appreciation of western arts in local students,” the CEO replied.

The festival will also be held at MGM Macau. The resort will present “Très’Ors,” an exhibition especially tailored for the festival.

French Curator Anne Camilli, founder of Le Musée à la Carte, created the exhibition with the mission to help the public in Hong Kong and Macau discover how the richness of Gold has inspired French artists and craftsmen throughout the course of history.

The exhibition, which will feature over 150 works, will also feature local elements such as dragons and phoenixes.

“We immediately knew that gold is as important in Chinese culture as it is in French culture […] so when the curator selected the pieces she made sure that it also had the significance to the Chinese culture,” Garin noted.

 According to him, the aim of the exhibition is to show the meaning of gold in Chinese culture through different aspects such as religion, symbols and power.

A Paris Ballet Legend performance by three star dancers of Paris National Opera, three French Jazz nights in tribute to legendary jazz voices, as well as a new genre of classy hip-hop by female dancers will also be performed throughout the festival.

The silver jubilee celebration will bring over 150 events including 80 performances, 70 screenings of films and TV series, 32 exhibitions and over 40 education and outreach events.

Organizers noted that over 500 artworks would be brought to Hong Kong and Macau during the festival.


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