The Chinese Opera Festival has been growing from strength to strength since its inception in 2010. Thanks to the unwavering support from artists and audience, the Festival is now entering its seventh edition. Among an array of operatic genres, there will be Kunqu and Kunqu Opera performances to pay tribute to Tang Xianzu, the great playwright of the Ming dynasty, as well as “Monkey King Play Series” are featured this year to explore the diverse and intriguing themes in Chinese operatic art.

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of the great playwright Tang Xianzu, virtuoso artists Cai Zhengren, Yue Meiti, Liang Guyin, Zhang Xunpeng and Zhang Jingxian will appear in the Kunqu vocal concert The Four Dreams at Linchuan and sing excerpts from Tang’s tour de force The Peony Pavilion, The Legend of the Purple Hairpin, The Story of Handan and The Dream of Nanke with the superb cast of Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe. Some of them will perform alongside young artists from the troupe in The Peony Pavilion and other classic excerpts. The Festival has also invited local Kunqu scholar Koo Siu-sun to retell the story of The Legend of the Purple Hairpin and commissioned Zhejiang Kunqu Opera Troupe for its production. Distinguished performers from Hong Kong and Taiwan, Ying Kam-sha and Wen Yu Hang will play the leading roles on the first performance while the second performance will feature Zeng Jie and Hu Ping, young artists from the troupe. Zhejiang Kunqu Opera Troupe will put on stage The Butterfly Dream and four excerpts as well.

Veteran Cantonese Opera artists Yau Sing-po and Chan Ho-kau will lead a young cast in Sacrificing the Son, an adaptation of the excerpt Free the Son from the traditional title The Lotus Lantern to pass on the legacy of the art of Cantonese Opera. The First Troupe of the China National Peking Opera Company returns to Hong Kong with classical plays and a strong cast starring Yu Kuizhi, Li Shengsu and Yang Chi, guest artist and director of Dalian Peking Opera Theatre.

In celebration of the Year of the Monkey, the Festival presents the “Monkey King Play Series” to display both the northern and southern styles of this entertaining genre. Characterised by unique stunts and agile movements, “Monkey King Play” mimicks the mythical Sun Wukong to amuse the audience. Li Baochun, renowned Peking Opera artist and the son of the legendary northern school Monkey King Li Shaochun, will take the lead in Monkey King Wreaking Havoc in Heaven and join the Youth Troupe of the Peking Opera Theatre of Beijing in their performances. The reputable Shao Opera Art Research Institute of Zhejiang will stage popular Shao Opera Monkey King Play titles to demonstrate the boldness and vibrancy of the southern school. Be prepared to be thrilled by the amusing acting and exciting stunts brought by this exhilarating genre. The Research Institute of Regional Opera Legacy of Heze Municipal will showcase five regional genres from Shandong with a strong rural flavour. Among Daxianzi Opera, Zaobang Opera, Liangjiaxian Opera, Dapingdiao Opera and Shandong Bangzi Opera, the first four are making their debuts in Hong Kong.

Separately, there will be extension activities including talks, workshops, exhibitions and film screenings to provide more opportunities to delve into the world of Chinese opera. In the Mainland, in recent years much efforts have been devoted into the production of 3D opera movies with high definition imaging technology for the preservation and dissemination of operatic art. To keep abreast of this development, the Festival will put 3D opera movies on show in addition to Cantonese Opera movies to widen the horizon of the local audience.

Cultural Presentations Section

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