Ticketing

16-17/8 Fri-Sat 7:30pm
18/8 Sun 3pm

Auditorium, Ko Shan Theatre New Wing


stage

Price

 $340

 $260

 $160



With Chinese and English surtitles
Audience is strongly advised to arrive punctually. Latecomers will only be admitted at a suitable break.
Please refer to the 'Extension Activities' page for details of extension activities



Programme Enquiries: 2268 7325

Ticketing Enquiries: 3761 6661

Credit Card Telephone Booking: 2111 5999

Internet Booking: www.urbtix.hk


Please click here for discount scheme details.


Ou Opera, originally known as Wenzhou luantan, is one of the regional theatrical genres. It was inscribed onto the second listing of National Intangible Cultural Heritage of China in 2008. It consists of both civil and martial repertories, with the former distinguished by delicate singing and the latter, uniquely devised stunts. The vocal styles are diverse, so the emotive spectrum covers grand, impassioned as well as quaint and restrained expressions.
On its visit to Hong Kong, the Wenzhou Opera Research Institute will present three full-length productions, The Legend of the White Snake, Killing a Dog to Admonish Her Husband and Gao Ji and Wu Sanchun. The cast will be led by two leading lights in Ou Opera today: Fang Rujiang, winner of the Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre, and Cai Xiaoqiu, winner of the Lead Actor Award at the Shanghai Magnolia Performing Arts Award. The Legend of the White Snake is a classic in Ou Opera, known for the balanced focus on both singing and acting. In The Broken Bridge from this classic, Fang Rujiang won the first Plum Blossom Award in the history of Ou Opera with his portrayal of the male protagonist, Xu Xian. Killing a Dog to Admonish Her Husband is one of the four major nanxi (Southern Opera) plays of China. Sharing the origin with the nanxi of the Song and Yuan period, the Ou Opera of Wenzhou retains the age-old elements but gives it a new adaptation. The staging also models upon the old nanxi with impressive effects. Gao Ji and Wu Sanchun tells the story of a pair of lovers who, despite social class differences, dares to challenge the feudal inhibitions. Their tragic love story has been a folklore popularly told in the Zhejiang area. After being written into the Ou Opera repertory, it has won rave response from audiences all over China.

16/8 (Fri) 7:30pm

The Legend of the White Snake



Award for Chinese Theatre and renowned Ou Opera performer, will both direct and star in this production. This Production not only follows the classical tradition but also aims to pare down the unnecessary side stories in order to achieve a lucid tale of romantic love. The staging is minimalistic yet poetic and at the same time refreshingly innovative. It accurately captures the lyricism of the water-logged scenic region south of the Yangtze River called ‘Jiangnan’. In terms of formulaic performance, equal emphasis is placed on vocal delivery and acting as well as the civil and military elements of presentation that are typical of Ou Opera. There is an exquisite beauty that runs throughout the play and appeals to both intellectual and popular taste. It is therefore an important means to understanding the genre and Chinese opera culture.

The White Snake decides to morph into human forms with the Green Snake to explore the human realm. On a visit to the Broken Bridge on Hangzhou’s West Lake, under the identities of Bai Suzhen and Xiao Qing, they meet Xu Xian, who has just returned from sweeping his ancestors’ graves. It is love at first sight for Xu Xian and Suzhen. The Green Snake, now called Xiaoqing, plays matchmaker and the two become a couple. On the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, Monk Fahai, who has been tracking down Suzhen in order to catch her, lures Xu into bringing home realgar wine to share with his wife. Suzhen drinks the wine and loses her human form. Xu sees his wife’s snake form, he dies of a shock. Suzhen ventures into the mountains to steal the celestial herb and revives Xu. Fahai traps Xu in Jinshan Temple. When Suzhen demands Fahai to return her husband, the two fight a grueling battle, shaking the heaven and earth. Xu flees from Jinshan Temple to the West Lake of Hangzhou where he sees Suzhen and Xiaoqing retreating to the Broken Bridge. Xiaoqing blames Xu for his heartlessness and threatens to kill him. Suzhen reproaches him on his ingratitude. Xu admits his wrongs and pledges his fidelity. The three reconcile and continue their trip to Hangzhou.



Main Cast: Fang Rujiang, Cai Xiaoqiu / Zhang Zhaowen, Wang Xiuli / Xu Yangyang, Shen Jiahui

The running time of the performance is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes including an intermission of 15 minutes.

17/8 (Sat) 7:30pm

Killing a Dog to Admonish Her Husband



Wenzhou is known as the birthplace of nanxi (Southern Opera), the earliest form of Chinese opera to have reached full mature form. Killing a Dog to Admonish Her Husband is one of the four signature plays of Southern Opera, and exemplifies its staging and formulaic performance. Created in 1999 with Xie Ping’an as director, it has been recognized as one of the most representative works in Ou Opera. The scenography focuses on reviving the ancient style, and retains the role of ‘the stagehand’ as used in ancient Southern Opera. The accompanying ensemble is also put on the stage so that the musicians are part of the performance. Also, with the actors freely engaging in and disengaging themselves from the roles they play, it demonstrates the sophisticated theatrical art of Southern Opera. The rather depressing story is given comic relief so as to turn the theatre experience into that of ‘absurd comedy’, and allow the audience to rethink the ways of the world.

The Sun family is made up of two brothers: the younger brother Sun Rong is righteous and eager to learn; the elder, Sun Hua, being the master of the house, is dissipated and undisciplined although he has the luck to marry a kind-hearted, intelligent wife Yang Yuezhen. Sun Hua befriends idlers like Hu Zichuan and Liu Longqing, and becomes a libertine. His friends instigate conflicts between the brothers, and so under their influence, Sun Hua expels his younger brother from the house. In the hope to lead her husband back onto the right track, Yuezhen devises a plan to reveal people’s true intentions, by means of a dog carcass. She kills a dog, dresses the carcass in human clothes, and places it at the entrance of the house. When Sun Hua arrives home, he is terrified by the dead body and runs to seek help from his buddies, Hu and Liu. But now the two only give him a cold shoulder in return. On the contrary, his brother Sun Rong offers help without hesitation when Sun Hua turns to him. Later Hu and Liu even use this incident to blackmail Sun Hua. At this juncture, Yuezhen steps in and reveals the truth. By the different responses among his so-called buddies and his brother, Sun Hua finally comes to his senses and restores his relationship with his younger brother. They can now enjoy familial harmony again.



Main Cast: Fang Rujiang, Cai Xiaoqiu, Hu Tao

The running time of the performance is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes including an intermission of 15 minutes.

18/8 (Sun) 3pm

Gao Ji and Wu Sanchun



The story of Gao Ji and Wu Sanchun is a popular tale in the folklore of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province. The story has been widely told in various forms, from Chinese opera to ‘mountain songs’, daoqing ballads, narrative singing with drum accompaniment of Wenzhou, glove puppet shows, novels, comic books, etc. in Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong and so on. Amongst all, the Ou Opera version of the story has exerted the highest influence. Since it was first staged more than 60 years ago, it has been staged for more than 400 times, and is still an audience favourite today. It features Yang Xiaoqing as director in this present newly revamped production. The singing is elegant and touching, the performance a fine mix of civil and military elements, and the story is heartrending. It is therefore a representative piece of Ou Opera as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Silk worker Gao Ji, a native of Ping Yang, goes to Longquan to work as a helper at Wuji Silk Mill, owned by Wu Wenda. At the mill, he often exchanges techniques and knowledge on the art of weaving silk products with the owner’s daughter, Sanchun. Gradually out of their common interest, the two young people start admiring each other in their hearts. Wenda wishes to further prosper his business, so with the help of his sister Cuigu, he arranges to marry his daughter to a young silk distributor called Li Fu, who is the son of the owner of Huzhou Liji Silk Shop. When Gao Ji learns about Sanchun’s would-be marriage, he sadly leaves Longquan. Missing Gao Ji whom she deems as her true love, Sanchun feels brokenhearted. Hastily she leaves home to catch up with Gao Ji by boat. They meet again on an islet in the middle of the river in Wenzhou. There they open their hearts to each other and exchange their vows. When they are about to set out to Gao Ji’s hometown in Pingyang, Sanchun’s father and aunt arrive and force the lovers apart. Gao Ji is further falsely accused of theft and sent to prison. This romantic story takes place at the time when the commodity economy emerges, thereby imparting different value orientations in society. The story closes with a tragic ending on the Peach Blossom Range.



Main Cast: Fang Rujiang, Cai Xiaoqiu

The running time of the performance is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes including an intermission of 15 minutes.



Information provided by Wenzhou Opera Research Institute


Ou Opera

Officially renamed as ‘Ou Opera’ in 1959 from the previous genre name of ‘Wenzhou luantan’, this regional theatrical genre has a history of more than 300 years and is popular in Wenzhou in southern Zhejiang. It was inscribed onto the second listing of National Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008. As a performing art, it adopts the ‘written form of the Wenzhou dialect’ as the stage idiom. Some of the more popularly known titles in the traditional repertory are Gao Ji and Wu Sanchun, Killing a Dog to Admonish Her Husband, The Legend of the White Snake and the new play in modern costume, Young Orchid Plant. The music of Ou Opera is mainly luantan; in performance, it has already established a style that is simple, fast-paced, robust yet insightful. It embraces both civil and military repertories, with equal emphasis on singing and acting. The military plays assimilate local martial arts and fighting routines into breathtaking stunts. The spoken lines are delivered in a mixed vernacular that blends the Wenzhou dialect with Zhongzhou (Central Plains) tonal inflexions. Its music has a high-flung, flowing quality that can externalise the complex emotions of the characters.


Wenzhou Opera Research Institute

The Wenzhou Opera Research Institute (formerly the Wenzhou Ou Opera Troupe) was founded in 1959. In its early days, the troupe already built a huge and widespread following in the northern and southern regions of the Yangtze River with its repertory of Ou Opera classics such as Gao Ji and Wu Sanchun, Women Generals of the Yang Family etc. Later productions number close to one hundred, and cover both traditional and new repertories. The winning productions include Killing a Dog to Admonish Her Husband, Two Golden Seals, The Young Lady Named Qiu, Lu Bu and Diao Chan, The Story of the Jade Swallow, The Butterfly Cup, The Pearl Pagoda, Fifteen Strings of Cash, Purging of the Heart, When Oranges Are Ripe, Tale of the West Garden etc. Amongst them, Killing at the Restaurant and The Number One Scholar Zhang Xie had won the New Repertory and the Scriptwriting awards respectively at the Wenhua Performance Awards presented by the Ministry of Culture, and Killing a Dog to Admonish Her Husband won The 3rd Prize of the National Showcase of Local Operas, while other plays have won Outstanding Performance Awards, Outstanding Repertory Awards etc. at the Zhejiang Opera Festival. In recent years, the troupe has given touring performances in the United States, Germany, Holland, Italy, Switzerland etc. and everywhere it went, it had won critical acclaim.

House Programme


houseProgramme05

16-17/8 Fri-Sat 7:30pm Auditorium, Ko Shan Theatre New Wing
18/8 Sun 3pm Auditorium, Ko Shan Theatre New Wing
stage

Price

 $340

 $260

 $160

With Chinese and English surtitles
Audience is strongly advised to arrive punctually. Latecomers will only be admitted at a suitable break.
Please refer to the 'Extension Activities' page for details of extension activities

Programme Enquiries: 2268 7325
Ticketing Enquiries: 3761 6661
Credit Card Telephone Booking: 2111 5999
Internet Booking: www.urbtix.hk

Please click here for discount scheme details.

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