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Tianjin Peking Opera Theatre

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The Roc with the Golden Wings

This is Zhang Youlin’s signature piece in his duanda wusheng (military male role with short weapon) where it exemplifies his remarkable skill in fighting with ferocious energy and virtuoso acrobatic stunt by playing the giant hawk with the golden wings.

Monk Tang Xuanzang and his three disciples travel to the west to obtain the sacred sutras. When passing through Lion Camel Mountain, they are blocked by bodhisattva Wenshu’s green lion, bodhisattva Puxian’s white elephant and the Buddha’s guardian giant hawk. Breaking the yinyang siege, Sun Wukong manages to defeat the green lion and white elephant but falls into the trap of the giant hawk. The monk and disciples are captured. Sun tries to escape and seeks help from the eighteen arhats to subdue the giant hawk.

Cast: Zhang Youlin

On Broken Bridge from The Legend of the White Snake

This excerpt is a famous perennial favourite in which Wang Yan’s stage persona as Bai Suzhen is decent and pretty whereas her mastery of the delicate change in tempo and strength of her vocalization displays the flavour of the Mei School.

After the defeat at Jinshan Temple by Monk Fahai, Bai Suzhen and Xiaoqing escape to the West Lake bank and rests at a broken bridge. Meanwhile, Xu Xian has also escaped from the temple and on his way to Linan, he meets them at the bridge. Infuriated, Xiaoqing tries to kill him but Suzhen stops her. However, Suzhen is still unable to forgive Xu for his ungratefulness. Xu kneels down to beg sincerely. Suzhen forgives him. Xiaoqing cannot bring herself to kill him and the three reconcile at last.

Cast: Wang Yan, Yan Hongyu, Jiao Pengfei

Qin Qiong Inspecting the Army Formation

An excerpt from Legend of the Bandit Heroes for the role of duanda laowusheng (thin-soled old military male), the song and dance performance in it demands solid moves and stance from the actors.

Late Sui Dynasty, after You Junda and Cheng Yaojin have robbed the imperial gift, You uses the excuse of his mother’s death to cover up the matter. However his lie is exposed by Qin Qiong when he comes to visit his family at Wunan. You is embarrassed. Cheng comes forth to help. Qin righteously promises to take up the responsibility. Fearing Yang Lin’s power, the magistrate reprimands Qin. Cheng admits his guilt in public while Qin destroys the banner and burns the imperial edict to show his determination to protect them. Yang Lin summons the army to the City of Li. Knowing his friends are unprepared, Qin assumes their identity to let himself be captured. However Cheng is captured too. Qin tries to lure Yang to go away but Yang realizes his trick and fights to kill him. Qin showers him with righteous words. Yang lays down a siege for the bandit heroes to come trying to capture them all. With the help of Wang Zhou, Qin inspects the army formation and familiarizes with it. When his bandit friends arrive, he leads them to break the formation and beats Yang Lin successfully.

Cast: Wang Ping, Si Ming, Wang Jiaqing

Interception on the River to Save the Young Prince

A classic repertoire for the changkao wusheng (flag-carrying and thick-soled military male role), Wang Lijun received personal coaching on this play from virtuoso Li Huiliang in interpreting the role of Zhao Yun. With solid and precise martial skill and powerful singing, he manifests the awe-inspiring flair of a general.

Sun Quan has been trying to reclaim the city of Jingzhou repeatedly but in vain. When he learns Liu Bei is going away to Sichuan, he adopts Zhang Zhao’s idea and lies about his mother’s illness so as to send confidant Zhou Shan to Jingzhou to get his sister, i.e. Liu’s wife back. He thinks when she returns with Liu’s son A Dou, he could use him as hostage in exchange for Jingzhou. Unaware of this, Sun Shangxiang boards the boat with her son A Dou. When Zhao Yun learns this, he chases after them and jumps into their boat to seize A Dou back. Zhang Fei arrives too, kills Zhou Shan and escorts the young prince back to Jingzhou safely.

Cast: Wang Lijun, Zhang Chanyu, Gao Hang




Zhong Kui Marrying His Younger Sister Off

This is a number for the painted-face wusheng (military male) role with drama in the action and passion in the drama.

Late Tang Dynasty, Hanlin academician Zhong Kui and fellow neighbour Du Ping set off to sit for the imperial examination in the capital. On their way, Zhong mistakenly goes into a ghost cave and his face is hence turned from handsome into ugly. He subsequently fails in the examination and commits suicide in frustration. After his death, he makes a journey home at night to thank Du for burying his body and offer him his younger sister’s hand in marriage by escorting her to Du’s house in the company of little devils.

Cast: Huang Qifeng, Yang Zaixing, Wang Pengfei

Luo Cheng Calling at the City Gate

Adapted from Chapter 60 of Book of the Tang Dynasty, this is an exemplary piece for xiaosheng (young male role) with powerful singing and ferocious fighting.

The story takes place in early Tang Dynasty. To seize the throne, Li Yuanji, the Duke of Qi frames Li Shimin, the Duke of Qin and sends him to prison. To exterminate Shimin’s trusted aide, Yuanji makes Luo Cheng the army commander and asks him to pacify the border troubles. When Luo returns victoriously, he forces him to go and fight again. Luo strives to fight in hunger and when he comes back, Li shuts the city gate refusing to let him in. Helplessly, Luo bites his finger and writes a letter in blood to ask his adopted son Luo Chun who is guarding the gate to report to the imperial court. He then returns to the battlefield alone. Finally with his horse stuck in the muddy river, he is killed by an onslaught of arrows.

Cast: Jiao Pengfei, Sun Lei

The Incarceration of Shan Tong

This is a significant number for hualian (painted-face role) with robust and impassioned singing to display the regrets and integrity of heroes dying with unaccomplished life ambition.

During Tang Dynasty, Wang Shichong, the Duke of Zheng is repeatedly defeated by Li Shimin, the Duke of Qin. Wang’s general Shan Xiongxin charges alone to the Tang camp and is captured by lieutenant Chi Gong. Li tries to persuade Shan to render obedience to Tang but Shan refuses and is escorted under guard to the execution ground. Before the execution, his bandit friends Xu Ji, Luo Cheng, Cheng Yaojin and others arrive to pay him respect but Shan insists on meeting his death.

Cast: Wang Jiaqing, Sun Lei, Wei Yigang, Lu Yan, Han Qing

Crossing the Ravine from The Lady Warriors of the Yang Family

This is a classic excerpt enriched with speech and singing, acting and fighting scenes which are all remarkable, displaying fully the wit and courage of the heroines well-versed in both civilian and military matters.

In the reign of Emperor Renzong in Song Dynasty, Duke of Xixia causes trouble at the border. Song army commander Yang Zongbao dies in the battlefield. Putting away her grief, Zongbao’s mother Madam She leads her widowed daughter-in-law, granddaughter-in-law and grandson Wenguang into battle to fight against the enemy for the country. Duke of Xixia is terribly beaten and retreats to their old camp in the valley. He tries to make use of the geographical advantage to lure Wenguang into the ravine to threaten the Yangs. His trick is discovered by She and Mu Guiying. According to Zongbao’s last words and his horse attendant Zhang Biao’s description, they know there is a pathway in the ravine. They therefore charge into the valley on the pretence of falling into the trap. After some twists and turns, they manage to climb up the pathway with the help of an old medicine-collector and attack the Xixia army from both within and without and finally exterminate them in one go.

Cast: Wang Yan, Shi Hao, Si Ming



Dingjun Mountain, Yangping Pass

This is a historical play adapted from Chapters 70 and 71 of Romance of the Three Kingdoms for changkau laosheng (flag-carrying and thick-soled old male role). Wang Ping, the disciple of virtuoso Tan Yuanshou aptly plays the lead role in this classic piece of the Tan School. With robust singing and agile stylized movements, coupled with speech and acting, he delivers the airs of the general Huang Zhong vividly.

Wei general Zhang He is tricked and loses control of Wakou Pass. He tries to reclaim it by launching an attack but is driven away by Huang Zhong and Yan Yan. Huang attacks Cao army’s major foothold at Dingjun Mountain and fights with Xiahou Yuan. Xiahou captures Chen Shi while Huang captures Yuan’s nephew Shang. Huang wounds Shang on purpose while exchanging horses to provoke Yuan to chase after him and kills him at the deserted wild. Liu Bei arranges a feast to celebrate the victory. News arrives saying Cao Cao has summoned his army to Yangping Pass for revenge and is moving the army ration northwards due to shortage. Zhuge Liang hears the news and intends on cutting off the transport. Huang wants to take the mission but Zhao Yun volunteers to go instead for fear Huang is too tired. Huang refuses. After he has burnt the ration, the Cao army indeed arrives to besiege him. Fortunately, Zhao Yun arrives in time with the backup army at the instruction of Zhuge Liang and saves Huang from danger.

Cast: Wang Ping, Deng Muwei, Zhang Youlin



The Incident on Lianhuan Mountain

This story is adapted from the Qing fiction Cases of Shi Gong, also known as Stealing the Royal Horse and is a classic repertoire for wusheng (military male), hualian (painted face) and wuchou (military comic) roles in Peking Opera. This performance commands an incomparable stellar cast with Wang Ping and Wang Lijun, the two major wusheng of the current times playing the role of Huang Tianba, renowned wuchou Shi Xiaoliang playing the role of Zhu Guangzu and ‘national treasure’ hualian virtuoso Shang Changrong guest appearing in the role of Dou Erdun.

During the reign of Emperor Kangxi in Qing Dynasty, Dou Erdun is beaten by the dirty tricks of Huang Santai in a duel and forced to retreat to Lianhuan Mountain to become a bandit chief. To avenge, Dou steals the royal horse from Liang Jiugong and frames it on Huang who has rendered obedience to the imperial court. Huang’s son Tianba is ordered to capture the horse thief in three days. Tianba goes up the Lianhuan Mountain alone at the pretext of sweeping grave. Dou knows he is the enemy’s son but does not harm him and sees him off instead. A duel is arranged the next day. Tianba’s friend Zhu Guangzu sneaks in and steals Dou’s weapon hook leaving behind Tianba’s sword. At the duel, Zhu claims the hook is stolen by Tianba. Dou believes him and thanks Tianba for not killing him. He then surrenders the royal horse and follows Tianba to turn himself in.

Cast: Wang Ping, Wang Lijun, Shang Changrong, Wang Jiaqing, Shi Xiaoliang, Wang Pengfei


Wang Ping
Wang Ping is the director of the Tianjin Peking Opera Theatre and a National Class One Performer. He specializes in both civil and military laosheng (old male role) and is the representative exponent of this Tianjin Intangible Cultural Heritage item. He took lessons from his father Wang Baochun at a small age and has since been taught personally by renowned Peking Opera artists Fei Shiyan, Li Huiliang, Zhang Shilin, Wang Shixu, Wang Jinlu, Ye Peng and Ding Zhenchun. Later he entered China Theatre Arts Academy and became a disciple of Peking Opera virtuoso Tan Yuanshou in 2000. He has won the 3rd China Peking Opera Arts Festival Performance Award, the 10th Ministry of Culture Wenhua Performance Award, the 15th and 22nd Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre and the 14th Shanghai White Magnolia Performance (First) Award.

Deng Muwei
A National Class One Performer specializing in painted-face role, Deng Muwei is a representative exponent of this National Intangible Cultural Heritage item. He took lessons from Liu Shaofeng and Zhang Fukun and became the disciple of Fang Rongxiang, the virtuoso for painted-face role in 1981 as an exponent of the Qiu School. His voice is deep and wide with a mellow flavour, his performance subtle and profound. He has won the 9th Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre, Mei Lanfang Gold Award and the Shanghai White Magnolia Theatre Performance Arts Award.

Zhang Youlin
A National Class One Performer specializing in wusheng (military male role) and a representative exponent to this National Intangible Cultural Heritage item, Zhang Youlin is the son of the celebrated wusheng artist Zhang Shilin. Taking lessons from his father since a tender age, Zhang has solid groundwork. His stock repertoires include Overturning the Chariots, Battle at Jizhou, Battle at Mount Tielong, The Lion Tower, The Roc with the Golden Wings, Mount Yandangshan and The Unicorn Tower and he has been awarded with the 7th Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre.

Wang Yan
A National Class One Performer specializing in qingyi (virtuous female role), Wang Yan has taken lessons from Meng Xianrong, Yuan Wenjun, Tian Yuzhu, Zhang Zhilan, Sun Ronghui before becoming the disciple of Peking Opera virtuoso Liu Xiurong in 1997. Her stage persona is decent and pretty, her voice clear and round and she is able to play both civil and military roles. She is a winner of multiple awards including National Young Peking Opera Performer TV Gold Award, the 25th Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre and the 4th China Peking Opera Arts Festival Outstanding Performance Award.

Huang Qifeng
A National Class One Performer specializing in wusheng (military male role), Huang Qifeng has taken lessons from Qi Rongkui, Guo Wenjun, Liu Xirui, Zhou Tiehao, Wang Baochun, Zhang Chunxiao and coached by Peking Opera virtuosi Dong Wenhua, Yang Naipeng, Wang Jinlu, Li Guang, Li Jingde, Yang Shaochun, Qu Yongchun and others. In recent years, he learns from celebrated wusheng artist Zhang Youlin and Su Degui and has won the 4th and 5th National Young Peking Opera Performer TV Contest Gold Award.

Yan Hongyu
A National Class One Performer specializing in daomadan (military female role), Yan Hongyu has taken lessons from Su Zhi, Ye Hongzhu, Liu Qi and Bai Yunming. Her repertoires include Battle at Jinshan Mountain, Blocking the Horse, The Hu Mansion, Saving the Emperor at Shouzhou, Stealing the Medicine, Robbing the Imperial Treasury, Asking the Shepherd the Way and Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea. She has won the 5th National Young Peking Opera Performer TV Contest Gold Award.

Wang Jiaqing
A National Class One Performer specializing in military painted-face role, Wang Jiaqing is a disciple of famous Peking Opera artist Li Changchun. His repertoires include Crossing Mountain Yin, The Incarceration of Shan Tong, Stealing the Imperial Horse and The Wild Boar Forest and he is a recipient of the 6th National Young Peking Opera Performer TV Contest Gold Award.

Jiao Pengfei
Jiao Pengfei is a fine young performer specializing in xiaosheng (civil male role). He has learnt from Han Shijie, Tian Baocheng, Yang Minghua, Sun Yuanxi, Zhang Chunxiao and later became a disciple of famous Peking Opera virtuoso Ye Shaolan. His repertoires include Heroes of the Three Kingdoms, Legend of the White Snake, The Stallion with the Red Mane and The Baimen Tower and he is a winner of the 7th National Young Peking Opera Performer TV Contest Gold Award.

Wang Pengfei
Wang Pengfei is a fine young performer specializing in wuchou (military comic role). He is a disciple of famous Peking Opera virtuoso Shi Xiaoliang. His repertoires include Stealing the Armour, The Nine Dragon Cup and The Iron Rooster and he is the winner of the 7th National Young Peking Opera Performer TV Contest Silver Award.

Shang Changrong (Guest)
A renowned Peking Opera artist and a National Class One Performer of Shanghai Peking Opera Theatre, Shang Changrong specializes in jing (painted-face role). Born into a family of opera artists as the son of Peking Opera virtuoso Shang Xiaoyun, Shang is the first batch of exponents for this National Intangible Cultural Heritage item as well as the first winner of the prestigious Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre. He has won thrice the Shanghai White Magnolia Theatre Performance Arts Award and China Theatre Festival Outstanding Performance Award besides other awards like China Peking Opera Arts Festival Outstanding Performance Award and Ministry of Culture Wenhua Performance Award. With great mastery of the traditional arts, Shang is not restricted by it and understands perfectly the secret of performance to 'bring to the outside what originates inside' to achieve a 'precise interpretation while carrying a weight within'. The characters he portrays are either majestic or powerful while his singing, narration and acting are all outstanding within excellent control.

Wang Lijun (Guest)
A National Class One Performer specializing in both wusheng (martial male) and laosheng (old male) roles, Wang Lijun takes lessons from Ru Yuanjun, Tan Yuanshou, Ding Cunkun and Su Degui and is a disciple of Yang Linyu. In 1992, he received personal coaching on the repertoires of Interception on the River to save the Young Prince and Saving Sister from Yanyang Tower from virtuoso Li Huiliang. He has solid groundwork and handsome stage persona and can command both short and long-ranged fighting scenes. He has won the 3rd Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre, the Mei Lanfang Martial Role Gold Award, the 4th Shanghai China Peking Opera Arts Festival Military Scene Gold Award as well as the 16th Shanghai White Magnolia Theatre Performance Arts Award.

Shi Xiaoliang (Guest)
A member of the Tianjin Youth Peking Opera Troupe and a National Class One Performer, Shi Xiaoliang specializes in both civil and military chou (comic role). He takes lessons from masters Guo Yuanxiang, Zhang Chunhua, Dong Wenhua and others. He has won the 21st Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre being the first wuchou actor to win the prestigious award. Other awards include the 1st National Theatre Festival Outstanding Performance Award and National Outstanding Young Peking Opera Artist Competition Class-One Award.

28-30/6 Fri-Sun 7:30pm
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29/6 Sat 2:30pm
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Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

• With Chinese and English surtitles.
• Please refer to the ‘Extension Activities’ page for details of other extension activities.
• Each performance lasts approx. 2 hours and 45 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.

Click here to download the transcript.