The stage is a microcosmic world of humanity with a macrocosmic span stretching beyond time and space. It enthralls those sitting in front of it because they perceive with their heart and soul facets of reality before their very eyes. In this vein, Chinese Opera encapsulates the long history and traditional culture of China. The immaculately crafted movements of the hands, the eyes, the body and the feet of the actors are unique to a whole system of Chinese performing arts. This year’s Chinese Opera Festival will include ten programmes that take you on a wondrous journey through this fantastic world of sight and sounds.
The elegant and sophisticated art form of Kunqu is a paragon of the aesthetics of Chinese traditional theatre. This year, we are honoured to have the famous novelist Pai Hsien-yung and the Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theatre of Jiangsu Province back in Hong Kong to spearhead a Kunqu mentoring programme. Highly esteemed veterans in the genre, Cai Zhengren, Wang Shiyu, Liang Guyin and Zhang Jingxian will be teaching young actors two Kunqu classics - The Story of the West Chamber (Southern Qu) and The Palace of Eternal Life, and guide them through the practicum course, which culminates in their final performance. Also, as a demonstration of excellence, Wang Shiyu, dubbed ‘Top artist in Kunqu jinsheng roles’, will partner with Wang Fang and Zhang Shizheng in performing an operatic excerpt.
Other operatic genres are also well represented at this year’s Festival. Yu Kuizhi and Li Shengsu, stars of the No.1 Troupe of the China National Peking Opera Company, and special guest star Yang Chi, will perform some of their best known and most popular plays in a Peking Opera feast. Yuen Siu-fai and Yau Sing-po, two leading names in Cantonese Opera in Hong Kong, will partner in Justice Bao: their famed virtuosity will make this production a gem to watch. For the Kunqu segment of the Festival, Tang Yuen-ha of the Jingkun Theatre of Hong Kong has invited the famous Kunqu performer, Cai Zhengren, to join her in a tribute to the Kunqu legend, Maestro Yu Zhenfei. Yue Opera, which is known for its sweet and colourful appeal, will appear at the Festival in the form of the Xiaobaihua Troupe of Hangzhou Yue Opera Theatre, led by the famous exponent of the Jin Caifeng stylistic school, Xie Qunying, and exponent of the Xu Yulan school, Zheng Guofeng, in some of the perennial favourites.
Chinese regional operas add variety and exceptional appeal to traditional theatre. The talented cast of the Anhui Huangmei Opera Theatre will bring to Hong Kong >i>The Seventh Fairy Maiden and The Female Consort of the Princess, sung in the mellifluous tones of the regional Huangmei genre. Gezi Opera, a Taiwan vernacular theatre, has become a national gem in Taiwan, and some of the most famous plays brought to Hong Kong will be performed by the three leading stars of the Tang Mei Yun Taiwanese Opera Company. Other regional operatic genres include Qinqiang, which originated in Shaanxi and Gansu in northwestern China and is typified by the robust, rustic character of the people as seen in Zhou Ren on the Way Home; Gan Opera, which comes from Jiangxi, is a later version of the yiyang vocal style and requires actors to be good in singing as well as acting, a virtuosity shown by Tu Linghui who is making a special comeback for this Festival. Other than operatic performance, the song art of northern China will also be showcased by the Tianjin Song Art Troupe. The troupe will be performing songs of different schools to demonstrate the captivating charm of narrative singing.
Like the previous years, the Chinese Opera Festival 2012 will organize many extension
activities for a better understanding of Chinese Opera other than stage performances.
They include symposiums, Chinese Opera film screenings, talks given by artists on their
art, as well as exhibitions. The variety of programmes should make a wonderful summer
of shows for the community’s enjoyment this year!
Cultural Presentations Section
Leisure and Cultural Services Department