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03/12 Sunday 09:35AM

cultural sight-seeing

If traveling more is on your New Year's resolutions list, where to go then in 2012? Inject some culture into your existence and plan your trips around some art festivals and events, and seriously up your standing in the social hierarchy at the same time.

3 - 22 January
An international theatre festival held in Santiago, Chile. One can enjoy performances and large-scale spectacles in the city's streets, theatres and cultural centres. The Santiago a Mil shows are an eclectic mix of international or co-productions, and innovative local productions. Get a free Cultural Passport and mingle with the artistic crowds and listen out for word-of-mouth alerts on the latest performance hitting the streets.

28 January - 8 March
The Hong Kong Arts Festival brings you music, dance, opera and theatre.  This is one of the most exciting art festivals in the world with a board spectrum of programmes, ranging from classical fare to other innovative and stimulating art forms. Some of the imminent artists and groups who have taken part in this festival include Jose Carreras, the Bolshoi Theatre, Yo Yo Ma and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

13 - 17 June
The Midnight Sun Festival was founded in 1986 by Finnish filmmakers and the Municipality of Sodankylä and provides 5 full days of celluloid appreciation.  The village of Sodankylä is located in the heart of Finnish Lapland, some 120 kilometers above the Arctic Circle, where the sun doesn´t set at all in the summertime. The Lappish nature and the nightless night provide the Midnight Sun Film Festival a unique setting like no other. Films are screened in three venues for 24 hours a day, and the actual time is easily forgotten: the sun shines as brightly at 4 a.m. as at 4 p.m.

May - July
The Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, has held its Stars of the White Nights festival during early summer's constant twilight since 1993. Famous operas and ballets are performed and every festival is organised to a theme. Some of the most beloved compositions have been performed here: Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, the Ring, Turandot, Tchaikovsky's ballets and operas, as well as the contemporary Russian composer, Rodion Shchedrin's works.

The Annual Garma Festival is Australia's Leading Cultural Exchange event.  It is held annually onsite at remote Gulkula, a traditional meeting ground in Arnhem land. The Garma Festival is a celebration of cultural traditions and practices in dance, song, music, and art. This is also the venue for the forum on Indigenous issues. Participants have the opportunity to watch the daily bunggul and music performances, enjoy Garma art exhibitions and projects, and participate in evening and night activities.

July - September
First held in 1920, the Salzburg Festival is one of the cultural highlights of the year. Alongside the regular residency of the Vienna Philharmonic, musicians and ensembles of the highest calibre fill the beautiful Alpine city with music and drama. This annual artistic summer event was started by a visionary trio of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Max Reinhardt and Richard Strauss, and to this day, an al fresco production of Hofmannsthal's Jedermann (Everyman) takes place in the Domplatz.

Over a hundred tribes populate the Papua New Guinea highlands and travelers get a rare opportunity to experience their customs over a weekend of music, dancing and extraordinary displays of tribal rituals. There are Asaro mud men with their ghostly make-up and exotic feathery costumes resembling birds of paradise, this gathering of many clans is a spectacular show of colour, agility and sounds amidst the beautiful mountain scenery.

1 - 9 March - Cottlesloe . 18 - 4 November 2012 - Bondi
First held in 1997, Sculpture by the Sea sees the coastal path from Bondi Beach to Tamarama decorated with outdoor sculptures. Over 400,000 visitors come to view more than 100 works by both Australian and international artists. Sculpture by the Sea is also held at Cottesloe Beach, Perth on Australia's Indian Ocean coast. With its sunsets, long horizon and the gorgeous pocket of beach near Indiana Tea House it's a wonderful location. In June 2009, Sculpture by the Sea also made it to Aarhus, Denmark

November - January 2013
Turin turns into an open-air museum for contemporary art featuring installations using light as a common bond during Luci d'Artista. International artists unite to show their personal interpretations of the interaction between art and urban landscape, putting artistic creativity directly into the general public's consciousness.

November - January 2013
The Chennai Music Festival is a celebration of classical music and dance of South India, with performances that include vocal and instrumental music, solo and group dances. South Indian classical music is used as a traditional form of worship and the festival takes place in the Tamil month of Marghazi, which is considered sacred by the Hindus. Artistes from all over the country perform in venues such as the Vani Mahal, temple grounds and heritage bungalows.

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