Cantonese Opera
recapturing
ancient vocal style

Reverberating Notes from South China
Highlights of the Eight Classic Pieces

Monk Biancai Releases the Demon

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Cantonese Opera
recapturing
ancient vocal style

Reverberating Notes from South China
Highlights of the Eight Classic Pieces

Monk Biancai Releases
the Demon

Hailed as the treasures of Cantonese arias, the South China Eight Classic Pieces are compiled from the scores of Cantonese Opera by omitting the dialogues and joining the singing parts together.  A total of eleven pieces have been compiled but only eight are left now.  Following the presentation of Lulang Reprimands His Son last Festival, renowned Cantonese aria singer Leung So-kam continues to re-arrange another classic piece Monk Biancai Releases the Demon this year in an effort to preserve this invaluable art from falling into oblivion.  The Eight Classic Pieces maintain the interpretation of the ten role types in Cantonese Opera.  Monk Biancai Releases the Demon is a piece written for the gongjiao (bearded old male) role.  The story tells of how Su Dongpo, the famous poet in Song Dynasty tries to seek help from monk Biancai to help save his friend Tao Zhuan’s son Fengguan who has been bewitched by a willow dryad.  Each of the characters in the piece sings in his/her unique style.  Tao Zhuan and monk Biancai sing in a vigorous and profound laosheng (old male) vocal style while Su Dongpo (zongsheng, bearded male) and Tao Fengguan (xiaosheng, young male) sing in a clear and resounding sheng (male) style whereas Madam Tao (zhengdan, virtuous female), Liu Qingniang (huadan, young female) and the Four Guardian Spirits (hualian, painted face) sing in zihou (falsetto voice) and dahou (heroic voice) respectively to recapture the flavor of the ancient vocal styles.  Famous Cantonese Opera stars Law Kar-ying, Ng Chin-fung, together with Leung Chi-kit, Cheng Wing-mui, Li Pui-yan and Song Hongbo will re-enact this classic piece on stage.

Programme Details

5/7(Sun) 7:30 pm

Auditorium, Sha Tin Town Hall

6–7/7 (Mon–Tue) 7:30 pm

Theatre, Ko Shan Theatre


Synopsis

The story takes place during the Song Dynasty.  Tao Fengguan, the only son of the Mayor of Qiantang, is handsome and debonair.  One night, he is studying in his studio and falls asleep.  The demon of the willow tree in his garden seizes the opportunity, morphs into human form, and seduces him.  With his life force drained, Fengguan is on the brink of death.  It so happens that Su Dongpo, a good friend of his father, has come by to visit.  Su takes pity on the young man’s plight and goes to seek the help of the sage monk Biancai at Longjing Temple.  The latter visits the Tao Residence and soon learns that it is the tree demon at the back garden that is making the mischief.  The monk captures the demon, teaches it the Buddhist doctrines about the transience of all life and all sensual desires of the mortal world, and advises it to restrain from further wrong doings.  The demon accepts his admonishing and dissipates in the wind.

Cast
Law Kar-ying as Monk Biancai
Ng Chin-fung as Su Dongpo
Leung Chi-kit as Tao Fengguan
Cheng Wing-mui (later) and Li Pui-yan (first) as Liu Qingniang
Song Hongbo as Guardian Spirit
Lo Lai-see as Madam Tao
Wong Hok-chiu as Tao Zhuan

打城」原是僧道法事的儀式,約於清道光年間被搬上舞台,發展成中國為數極少的宗教劇種之一,故名「打城戲」(又名「法事戲」、「師公戲」等)。從最初的科儀表演,打城戲不斷吸收各種元素以豐富演出法,如技巧之一「耍鐃鈸」本為法事雜技、科步是仿羅漢型態而衍化、武打源於南少林拳技、音樂由道情佛曲融合南音和傀儡曲調,而逐漸形成了打城戲技藝出眾而不脫宗教色彩的獨特藝術風格,演出別開生面。

打城戲傳統劇目多以神話宗教為主,其祖傳《目連救母》本有七十四齣,可連演四天四夜,情節與明代鄭之珍版本頗有不同,表演運用獨有技巧如「吃火吐火」、「破肚拉腸」、「刀劈臉」、「叉刺肚」、「耍鐃鈸」、「吃紙拉腸」等,演出驚險精彩。現時打城戲演出已瀕臨滅絕,碩果僅存的福建泉州市吳天乙打城戲傳承中心由打城戲唯一國家級傳承人吳天乙重組帶領,排除萬難首度來港,特地為戲曲節精選傳統目連折子戲作三晚連本演出,實屬難能可貴!

打城」原是僧道法事的儀式,約於清道光年間被搬上舞台,發展成中國為數極少的宗教劇種之一,故名「打城戲」(又名「法事戲」、「師公戲」等)。從最初的科儀表演,打城戲不斷吸收各種元素以豐富演出法,如技巧之一「耍鐃鈸」本為法事雜技、科步是仿羅漢型態而衍化、武打源於南少林拳技、音樂由道情佛曲融合南音和傀儡曲調,而逐漸形成了打城戲技藝出眾而不脫宗教色彩的獨特藝術風格,演出別開生面。

打城戲傳統劇目多以神話宗教為主,其祖傳《目連救母》本有七十四齣,可連演四天四夜,情節與明代鄭之珍版本頗有不同,表演運用獨有技巧如「吃火吐火」、「破肚拉腸」、「刀劈臉」、「叉刺肚」、「耍鐃鈸」、「吃紙拉腸」等,演出驚險精彩。現時打城戲演出已瀕臨滅絕,碩果僅存的福建泉州市吳天乙打城戲傳承中心由打城戲唯一國家級傳承人吳天乙重組帶領,排除萬難首度來港,特地為戲曲節精選傳統目連折子戲作三晚連本演出,實屬難能可貴!

打城」原是僧道法事的儀式,約於清道光年間被搬上舞台,發展成中國為數極少的宗教劇種之一,故名「打城戲」(又名「法事戲」、「師公戲」等)。從最初的科儀表演,打城戲不斷吸收各種元素以豐富演出法,如技巧之一「耍鐃鈸」本為法事雜技、科步是仿羅漢型態而衍化、武打源於南少林拳技、音樂由道情佛曲融合南音和傀儡曲調,而逐漸形成了打城戲技藝出眾而不脫宗教色彩的獨特藝術風格,演出別開生面。

打城戲傳統劇目多以神話宗教為主,其祖傳《目連救母》本有七十四齣,可連演四天四夜,情節與明代鄭之珍版本頗有不同,表演運用獨有技巧如「吃火吐火」、「破肚拉腸」、「刀劈臉」、「叉刺肚」、「耍鐃鈸」、「吃紙拉腸」等,演出驚險精彩。現時打城戲演出已瀕臨滅絕,碩果僅存的福建泉州市吳天乙打城戲傳承中心由打城戲唯一國家級傳承人吳天乙重組帶領,排除萬難首度來港,特地為戲曲節精選傳統目連折子戲作三晚連本演出,實屬難能可貴!

Ticketing

5/7 (Sun) 7:30pm

Auditorium, Sha Tin Town Hall


Prices price01$360 price02$280 price03$200 price04$120
seatplan

6–7/7 (Mon–Tue) 7:30pm

Theatre, Ko Shan Theatre


Prices price01$360 price02$280 price03$200 price04$120
seatplan
  • With Chinese and English surtitles
  • Please refer to the Extension Activities page for details of extension activities
  • Each performance lasts approx. 3 hours with a 15-minute intermission

Performers

Law Kar-ying

Law Kar-ying began receiving formal training in basic stylized movements and routines at age eight under his father Law Kar-kuen, and in singing and acting with his uncles Law Kar-shu and Law Kar-wui.  During the course of his operatic training he also came under the coaching of Fen Kuk-fa, Lui Kwok-chuen, Liu Xun and Leung So-kam.  He staged a dozen of new productions such as The Story of Liu Yaojin, Dragon’s Prescript, Di Qing, The Immortal Zhang Yuqiao and Cao Cao and Yang Xiu.  Law also adapted Shakespeare’s Macbeth and King Lear into Cantonese Opera and also Deling and Empress Dowager Ci Xi in 2010 and set a new trend in the genre.  Law received a Medal of Honour from the Hong Kong SAR Government in 2012, the World Outstanding Chinese Award and an honorary doctorate from the Ohio Northern University, USA in 2013.

Ng Chin-fung

Ng Chin-fung became a disciple of Master Chan Fai-nong at the age of 11 and he was also trained by Koo Tin-ng, a famous actor of xiaowu (supporting military male) roles in Cantonese Opera.  His quest to improve himself in the art form led to seeking coaching from Chan Tit-ying at the recommendation of Master Chan Fai-nong, and Liu Xun to learn martial art of the Northern School.  He became a principal male lead in the field when he was eighteen.  Later, he formed his own Cantonese Opera troupes, including Sun Moon Star, Chin Fung and Golden Phoenix.  Ng is noted for his virtuosity and sensitivity in portraying his personae, through earnest and in-depth study of roles.  He is therefore highly praised for creating memorable characters.  His singing is also widely acclaimed.

Leung Chi-kit

Leung Chi-kit is the youngest daughter of Maestro Leung Yee-chung, and younger sister of Leung So-kam, a famous name in Cantonese Opera and Cantonese song art.  She was exposed to the singing of Cantonese operatic arias since she was young, and made her stage debut at five singing Liang Shanbo on His Death Bed.  Coached by her sister, she has grasped the consummate vocal techniques of So-kam, and her pinghou (natural voice) renditions are also imbued with the flavour of her father’s stylistic school, Jiexinqiang.  She made the recording of Cantonese operatic arias, Revisiting the Glorious Dream, The Peacock Flies Southeast and The Story of the Wooden Hairpin as partner to her sister.  She enrolled in the extension course for Chinese Opera Performance of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2010, where she trained in xiaosheng (young civil male) role.  On completion of the course, she has appeared in public performances of operatic excerpts, such as The Phoenix and Comparing the Embroidered Shoes from The Case of the Red Gauze Clue for the Headless Corpse.

Cheng Wing-mui

Cheng Wing-mui received huadan (female lead) training under the two famous Cantonese Opera stars, Law Kar-ying and Lee Po-ying, and the ensemble leader, Keung Chi-leung, which included dramatic postures and percussive points on the Cantonese Opera stage.  She received further training in Cantonese operatic singing under Lau Kin-wing, and martial arts and stylized movements under several Peking Opera veterans.  She is therefore an all-round actor in the field.  She formed the Kam Yuk Tong Cantonese Opera Troupe in 1988, which gives regular performances at various performing venues in Hong Kong, as well as in Macao, Singapore and Malaysia.  The Troupe appeared in the China Festival held in Berlin in 2001.

Li Pui-yan

Born into a family of Cantonese Opera heritage (daughter of Danny Li and Yu Wai-fun), Li Pui-yan graduated from Wellesley College, USA, and is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the art of Cantonese Opera.  She had studied singing from Chung Lai-yung, Xue Ya-ping and Li Mei-fa and her dance and body movements were trained by Yang Min and Yu Mei-di.  She had also received additional training from her godparents, Law Kar-ying and Liza Wang.  She debuted as principal actress in Floral Princess (Youth Edition) production in 2007.  Other trained repertoires include Rejuvenation of Lady Plum Blossom, Tale of the Purple Hairpin, Sisterly Love amidst Turmoil, The Villain, The General and the Heroic Beauty and Deling and Empress Dowager Ci Xi, etc.  Li is also devoted to the English translation of Cantonese Opera librettos.

Song Hongbo

Song Hongbo holds an Advanced Diploma in Performing Arts (Cantonese Opera) from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, where his teachers included Liu Xun, Hui Kin-shun, Cheung Sai-kit et al..  He has appeared in A Meeting of Heroes, Lu Bu and Diao Chan, At the Sweet Dew Monastery, etc.  He has also appeared in such major productions as The Cosmic Mirror and Stealing the Imperial Horse.  He was a member of the touring troupe of the Academy.

Lo Lai-see

Specialised in huadan (female lead) role, Lo Lai-see is among the second batch of graduates from the Cantonese Opera Academy of Hong Kong under the tutelage of Yam Dai-fun and Chan Man.  After graduation, she joined Chor Fung Ming Cantonese Opera Troupe and took part in performances by other troupes as well.  She has appeared in repertoires like Blessings of the Moon, The Injustice Done to Dou'e, The Return of the Expeditionary Robe and The Recovery of the Golden Hairpin.  She is currently a member of the Cantonese Opera Young Talent Showcase organized by The Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong under Yau Ma Tei Theatre Venue Partnership Scheme.

Wong Hok-chiu

Wong Hok-chiu joined the Naning City Yong Opera Troupe in Guangxi in 1957, where he became a disciple of Wen Wuying and Li Mingyang.  Later he received further training at the Wuhan City Peking Opera Troupe, where he was coached by famous virtuosi of the genre, Gao Shenglin and Guo Yukun.  He was the Company Director of the Naning City Cantonese Opera Troupe until he retired.  He was named a ‘Top Actor’ by the Ministry of Culture in 1983, and accredited as a National Class One Performer in 1984.  Throughout his career of over forty years, Wong has starred in many Yong Operas and plays with modern themes and settings.  After resettling in Hong Kong, he has performed secondary and supporting roles with many local Cantonese Opera troupes, including Tung Sing, Fung Sang Fai, New Kwan Ying and Ming Chee Sing.

Production Team

Artistic Director: Leung So-kam

Leung So-kam was born into a family of Chinese song art performers.  Her father, Leung Yee-chung, was a leading light in the genre of Cantonese music and song art, while her mother Cheung Yuk-king (stage name ‘King Sin’) was a Cantonese song art performer singing the zihou (falsetto voice).  Leung began broadcasting when she was only six, singing the classic piece Remonishing Her Husband.  She began her career in Cantonese Opera later, and was a disciple of the famous Chan Kam-tong and the legendary Sit Kok-sin.  She appeared in the full-scale productions of well-established troupes such as Kam Tim Fa and Kok Sin Sing.  She was also active in the recording studio, singing with such famous stars as Leng Chi Pak, Ngan Kim Ying, Leung Mo-seung, Ho Fei-fan, Yam Kim-fai, Yee Chau-shui, Chan Kam-tong, Wong Chin-shui, Man Chin-shui, Sun Ma Sze Tsang, Chung Wan-shan and Chui Mo-pak, not to mention her own father Leung Yee-chung.  She appeared on her father’s show on Commercial Radio, The Eight Classic Pieces in Cantonese Opera, during the 1960’s, in which she sang such roles as Mu Gua and the Washer Woman.  She is also known for her singing style which is tuneful and demonstrates the scholastic touch.

Producer Danny Li
Programme Curators Tam Wing-pong, Ng Fung-ping, Danny Li
Percussion Ensemble Leader Ko Yun-kuen
Ensemble Leader Ko Yun-hung
Production Manager Wong Siu-sang
Stage Manager Leung Wai-hong
Lighting and Set Kwong Hing Stage Scene Production Company
Props and Costume Kam Yee Costumes Company

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