Mid-year planner: performing arts and more in the Klang Valley

A scene from 'Zhuangzi Tests His Wife', one of the segments in Taiwan's GuoGuang Opera Company's 'Jingju Magic - Love & Bewilderment', which plays at KLPac next month. Photo: GuuGuang Opera Company

After a string of eye-catching local theatre and arts productions in the last six months, Klang Valley audiences are ready for more as Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya venues gear up for diverse events in the year's second half.

Leading venues like KLPac, PJPAC, Dewan Filharmonik Petronas and DPAC will be showcasing local and international productions, from independent theatre to classical music and contemporary dance, drawing both enthusiasts and newcomers to the increasingly interesting arts scene.

These days, theatre spaces and venues are no longer limited to stage shows and musicals. A variety of multidisciplinary events are now entering the public space, bringing an array of eclectic performances to audiences.

Video art, anime and classical kicks

This month, Five Arts Centre, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, will be presenting a unique mash-up showcase My Video Making Practice by artist Gan Siong King.

It will be shown at the Five Arts Centre space at the GMBB creative mall in KL on June 20-23 and June 27-30.

In line with Five Arts Centre's inclusive vision, Gan's video series will be presented as a not-for-profit community engagement project to spark conversations on art and art-making.

After each of the eight screenings at Five Arts Centre's venue, there will be dialogue sessions between Gan with invited guests – including performing and visual artists, filmmakers, curators, and educators.

Considered one of Malaysia’s most original contemporary artists, Gan expands his distinctive, research-driven practice in this 83-minute screening, remixing 11 videos of Malaysian artists at work from the past decade.

The death of French music and fashion icon Francoise Hardy this week casts a poignant shadow over the ongoing 2024 French Festival by Alliance Francaise de Kuala Lumpur.

Singer Marsu and her two musicians will perform live at DPAC on June 19, showcasing her original songs, and timeless French classics, including songs from Hardy, Edith Piaf, Juliette Greco, France Gall, Serge Gainsbourg, and Charles Aznavour. You can look up additional events at the 2024 French Festival by exploring Alliance Francaise de Kuala Lumpur's full programme.

On June 29, the Palate Palette reunion event will be held at the Zhongshan building in Kuala Lumpur. This celebration of the defunct creative arts space will feature pop-up parties, comedy skits, craft events, box camera photography, an eco corner, and more, honouring its legacy as a mid-2000s community hub.

If you need to get dolled up, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) is presenting its fifth anime concert, Symphonic Anime 5, led by Joshua Tan, on June 28 and 29 at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, KLCC. Cosplay is most welcome. The show will also feature vocalist Rina-Hime and a setlist of iconic retro anime soundtracks, including Kikuchi’s Dragon Ball Medley, Miyazaki’s Pokemon: Lugia’s Song, Takanashi’s Sailormoon: Moon Prism Power Makeup, and Gakari’s Naruto: Bluebird. Limited tickets are available, so be quick.

Classical group Concordia Quartet from Singapore will debut in Malaysia with concerts, masterclasses, and workshops in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka from June 27-30. The quartet, comprising Edward Tan, Kim Kyu Ri, Martin Peh, and Lin Juan, all prize-winning musicians, will play concert at Deciso Fine Violins, Bandar Sri Damansara on June 28, featuring Malaysian guest musicians Dr Andrew Filmer on viola and Howard Ng on oboe.

Theatre will once again take centre stage later this month.

Director Christopher Ling presents Perhiasan Kaca, a Bahasa Malaysia adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ award-winning play, The Glass Menagerie, translated by Marlenny Deenerwan.

This classic drama, which will take place at KLPac on June 29 and 30, July 3-7, delves into the lives of a mother nostalgic for the past, a timid daughter enchanted by her glass figurines, and a son aspiring to be a poet. Each character seeks solace in their own "glass menagerie" as they strive for a brighter future amidst personal struggles. Presented as part of The Actors Studio Foundation’s "Kembali Ke Pangkuan" season.

Peking opera, Sybil Kathigasu opera

July promises to be a busy month with a packed schedule ahead.

Firstly, you can step into a world of inspiration and discovery at Pixorama, a two-day festival by Filamen, bringing together industry leaders, professionals, and educational institutions.

This event, set to take place at PJPAC's main stage on July 6 and 7, is a unique platform to network and connect students and professionals in digital design and motion graphics.

Reflections blends tradition with contemporary through Bharatanatyam, integrating theatre, Indian classical and folk dances, alongside multimedia projections. It will be held on July 5 and 6 at Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC).

The show brings to life the legendary tale of Garuda, featuring award-winning artists from India and Malaysia, with multimedia projections and English subtitles to make the cultural stories accessible to all.

Presented by Mahavidya Dance Theatre, this event supports arts education for underprivileged children in Klang Valley.

Heroic Malaysian nurse Sybil Kathigasu's life will be celebrated in the new opera show 'Solace Of Papan, which will play at Segi University Hall, Kota Damansara, Selangor on July 20 and 21. Photo: Ipohworld.orgHeroic Malaysian nurse Sybil Kathigasu's life will be celebrated in the new opera show 'Solace Of Papan, which will play at Segi University Hall, Kota Damansara, Selangor on July 20 and 21. Photo: Ipohworld.org

Next month's buzz event in performing arts is the GuoGuang Opera Company from Taiwan, showcasing the traditions of Jingju (Peking opera) in its show, Jingju Magic – Love & Bewilderment.

Premiering at KLPac's Pentas 1 stage from July 12-14, this Mandarin production with English and Mandarin subtitles features 29 actors and musicians. After its Kuala Lumpur debut, the GuoGuang Opera Company will head to Penang for the George Town Festival on July 20 and 21, where it will be a highlighted international performance.

The double bill of Zhuangzi Tests His Wife and Lu Wenlong, The Death Of Zhou Yu, and Guiying’s Accusation Of Wang Kuei At The Temple showcases the company's blend of traditional and contemporary elements, marking its evolution over nearly three decades in the opera scene.

Opera fans and history enthusiasts can look forward to Solace Of Papan, a new production playing at Segi University Hall, Kota Damansara on July 20 and 21.

It offers an operatic journey into Malaysian history and heroism during WWII. This production tells the true story of Malaysian nurse Sybil Kathigasu, who bravely resisted Japanese interrogators during the occupation.

With a libretto by director Chin San Sooi and music by composer Lam Siu Chong, Solace Of Papan celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

KongsiKL in Kuala Lumpur revisits the 1990s with Kongsi Petak's updated version of 'Switchblade Operation: The Longing', choreographed by Loke Soh Kim, from July 11-13. Photo: Taka Chang KongsiKL in Kuala Lumpur revisits the 1990s with Kongsi Petak's updated version of 'Switchblade Operation: The Longing', choreographed by Loke Soh Kim, from July 11-13. Photo: Taka Chang

The KongsiKL space in Kuala Lumpur will be welcoming back "the 1990s" with Kongsi Petak presenting a new version of Switchblade Operation: The Longing, choreographed by Loke Soh Kim, from July 11-13.

This expanded 60-minute performance, which swept five dance category awards at the 19th Boh Cameronian Arts Awards, originated in Loke's hometown of George Town three decades ago.

Switchblade Op: A World In The City is the dance production's updated name. Also, don't miss its homecoming at the Majestic Theatre from July 19 to 21, as part of the George Town Festival 2024.

Renowned choreographer-artistic director Mew Chang Tsing will present her latest works in 55.5, including White Snake Endeavour and Mid-Autumn 2021, at the ArtKU Dance Festival on July 13 and 14 at PJPAC. The festival also features seminars, a lecture demonstration, a masterclass, and a multimedia exhibition, offering a well-rounded programme for dance fans and arts enthusiasts.

Amidst the bustling arts scene, the inaugural Royal Selangor Jazz Festival debuts at the Royal Selangor Arts Centre in KL on July 14. Enjoy non-stop music across four stages, showcasing local talents such as Tay Cher Siang, Janet Lee, Junji Delfino, David Gomes, The Frankie Sixes, FAZZ, WVC Malaysian Jazz Ensemble, and others.

DFP Seni Festival 2024, opening at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) in KLCC this July, offers a vibrant line-up of traditional music and performing arts. The festivities begin on July 20 with Jit Sin High School Chinese Orchestra from Penang performing composer Li BoChan’s The Song Of Chu, rearranged as an erhu-cello duet.

Traditional Malay theatre takes the spotlight on July 27 with Mek Mulung, presented in collaboration with the Department of Culture & Arts and Kumpulan Mek Mulung Seri Mahawangsa (Akrab and Kumpulan Mek Mulung Wang Tepus). On Aug 10, Randai Mudo Pak Belalang, a production by Pewara Dance Theatre showcasing Minangkabau folk theatre, is set to captivate audiences with martial arts, dance, and theatrical drama.

The festival concludes with a public programme at the DFP lobby on Sept 7 and 8, bringing music and arts to all.

August and September, marking Merdeka and Malaysia Day respectively, are set to deliver more exciting performing arts events. Stay tuned for more updates!

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Theatre , arts , Klang Valley , music , dance , KLPac , PJPAC , opera


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