Ticketing

13-15/6 Thu-Sat 7:30pm
17-19/6 Mon-Wed 7:30pm

Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre, West Kowloon Cultural District


stage

Price

 $480

 $380

 $280

 $180



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.


The China National Peking Opera Company and Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company – two esteemed ensembles based in the country’s northern and southern regions – will launch the 10th Chinese Opera Festival, gracing the stage of the newly-opened Xiqu Centre in the West Kowloon Cultural District. Yu Kuizhi, the genre’s foremost living master, is joined by Li Shengsu, bearer of the tradition handed down by Mei Lanfang, leading the China National Peking Opera Company for three evenings. Special guest artist Yang Chi, Director of the Dalian Peking Opera Company and a disciple of Yuan Shihai, joins the cast in The Boar Forest, an iconic masterpiece of Li Shaochun. The next evening offers the 1923 classic The Great Beauty Xi Shi, widely celebrated as an exemplar of Mei Lanfang’s contribution to the genre in the last century. Mu Guiying Taking Command has been heralded as Mei’s final masterpiece, the epitome of four decades of his extraordinary artistry. The Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company follows closely with three evenings of distinctive programmes. Wang Peiyu, renowned female artist in the Yu (Shuyan) tradition of laosheng (old male) roles, performs Vermilion Birthmark, along with two other classic excerpts: Water Nymph of Sizhou City, highlighting the female warrior, and Chisang Town, pitching painted-face against old female roles. The second evening presents two scenes from Yu Tang Chun with Shi Yihong – renowned qingyi (virtuous female) in the Mei tradition – as Su San, a destitute woman whose love remains steadfast in the face of death. The first half of this double-bill features Gai Jiaotian’s popular martial arts repertory, Wu Song Fighting in the Tavern. The final evening offers quintessential Shanghai-style Peking Opera, Seven Heroes and Five Gallants, a tour de force of expert singing and martial arts skills, in which each role enjoys a moment in the limelight, capped with a breathtaking display of liantan – an extended vocal passage shared by seven actors on stage. This lineup of the best of the best provides a veritable panorama of the outstanding artistry of northern and southern masters of China’s national art form.

Co-presenter
Xiqu Centre PRC's 70th Anniversary

China National Peking Opera Company


13/6 (Thu) 7:30pm

 The Boar Forest


Based on the classic novel The Water Margin, The Boar Forest is an iconic work of Peking Opera master Li Shaochun. In the celebrated Drifting Snowstorm passage set in an icy and desolate forest, Lin Chong expresses his solitude, desperation and longing for his family. Music and text are perfectly matched both dramatically and poetically, exemplifying the aesthetics of ‘emotional depiction through scenic description’ in Chinese Opera.


On the eve of the Northern Song dynasty, Grand Commandant Gao Qiu’s son Gao Shide covets the wife of Lin Chong, drill master of the 800 000 Imperial Guards. They frame Lin into bringing a sword into the military compound’s White Tiger Hall, where weapons are explicitly forbidden. Wrongfully accused, he is exiled to Cangzhou, and along the way, his guards (having received Gao’s bribe) attempt to murder Lin in the Boar Forest. Fortunately, their plot fails and Lin is saved by Lu Zhishen. In Cangzhou, Lin is in charge of a fodder field, but Gao Qiu sends his men to set the place on fire and murder Lin, who has seen through the plot. Lin kills the perpetrators, then escapes to Liangshan with Lu.

Main Cast: Yu Kuizhi, Li Shengsu, Yang Chi (Guest), Du Zhe, Wang Jue, Hu Bin, Chen Guosen, Ma Xiangfei, Wei Jiaging, Liu Bo, Liu Kuikui
The role of Lin Chong will be co-played by Yu Kuizhi abd Du Zhe. Du Zhe will perform in White Tiger Hall and Road to Exile.

The running time of the performance is approximately 3 hours including an intermission of 15 minutes.

14/6 (Fri) 7:30pm

 The Great Beauty Xi Shi


This 1923 masterpiece, with a script by Luo Yinggong, bears testament to Mei Lanfang’s innovations in the classic genre of Peking Opera. To enrich the emotional effect of the instrumental ensemble, Mei added the erhu. Renowned vocal passages such as I Was Born and Bred in Zhuluo Village and Autumn Arrives with the Wind on the Water are profoundly elegant in portraying the refined aura of the educated class. The final passage sung by Xi Shi and Fan Li (My Country Is Safe, My Worries Cease) combines music with intricate movement, depicting a poetic landscape. This performance condenses Mei Lanfang’s original while adding new elements, sustaining the qualities that distinguish this work.


Fu Chai, King of Wu, is intent on conquering the kingdom of Yue, causing tremendous suffering to Gou Jian and his people. Yue Minister Fan Li devises a ‘honey trap’, persuading Xi Shi to enter the Wu court and become a spy. Xi Shi is successful in beguiling Fu Chai, encouraging him neglect his duties. Fu Chai even kills Prime Minister Wu Yuan for daring to speak up. When Gou Jian returns to Yue, he chooses to sleep on a pile of firewood, tasting bitter gall to remind himself of his humiliation. Eventually, Xi Shi and Fan Li carry out a plot that leads to the demise of Wu. Instead of staying for the Yue victory parades, the two decide to lead a reclusive life as they sail into a lake.

Main Cast: Li Shengsu, Yu Kuizhi, Wang Yue, Hu Bin, Ma Xiangfei, Wang Jue, Chen Xuzhi, Liu Yang

The running time of the performance is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes including an intermission of 15 minutes.

15/6 (Sat) 7:30pm

 Mu Guiying Taking Command


At age 65, Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang adapted from Yu Opera Mu Guiying Taking Command, his final landmark work capping four decades of tremendous artistry. The middle-aged Mu Guiying embodies characteristics of qingyi (virtuous female) and female warrior roles, encompassing such attributes as steadfast, melancholic, demure, vigorous, valiant and adroit, as her evolving thoughts and her demeanour are fully displayed through movement and percussion patterns. All of these are proof of yet new heights in the art of Mei Lanfang.


During the Northern Song dynasty, the Xixia ruler leads an uprising. Having exhausted its imperial armies, the Song court summons Mu Guiying to take command. Mu is apprehensive, vexed by the court’s indifference and the conspiracies of evil ministers against her family. Upon hearing her grandmother-in-law’s exhortations, Mu sets aside her personal doubts to defend her country. Together with her husband Yang Zongbao and children Yang Wenguang and Yang Jinhua, they lead their warriors to battle.

Main Cast: Li Shengsu, Yu Kuizhi, Zhang Jing, Du Zhe, Hu Bin, Han Fuchao, Dai Zhongyu, Pan Yuejiao, Liu Kuikui, Chen Guosen, Wang Jue

The running time of the performance is approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes including an intermission of 15 minutes.

Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company


17/6 (Mon) 7:30pm

 Water Nymph of Sizhou City


A virtuosic play that highlights the female warrior, including a dazzling display of acrobatic and combat skills.


At the Rainbow Bridge in Sizhou, a water nymph falls in love with a mortal – Bai Tingxun – and they marry. When she floods Sizhou, the god Erlang and his warriors descend from Heaven to punish her for breaking celestial law. Since the nymph has given her magic pearl to Bai as her token of love, she is in danger. Despite immense risk on his life, Bai returns the pearl to the nymph and she wins the battle.

Main Cast: Yang Yanan, Hao Jie, Liu Xiao, Xie Tianci, Lu Jianliang, Zhu Heji, Zhang Chenchen

 Chisang Town


A traditional work pitting painted-face against old female roles, it is a true test of vocal skills covering a wide range of tune-types.


Orphaned at a young age, Bao Zheng is reared by his sister-in-law Wu Miaozhen, whose son Bao Mian has become a corrupt magistrate in Xiaoshan. Justice Bao Zheng later sentences his cousin to decapitation. Wu rushes to Chisang Town to reprimand Bao Zheng for being ungrateful and disloyal to his family. Bao Zheng responds by defending fairness and justice, eventually winning her over.

Main Cast: Gao Mingbo, He Ting

 Vermilion Birthmark


A veritable showcase for laosheng (old male) noted for its vocal demands, it contains an extensive and virtuosic passage of erhuang.


Prefect Han Tingfeng, having separated from his family during an uprising, resigns and settles in a village. All alone and without an offspring, he decides to remarry. On the day of the wedding, he discovers that the bride has sold herself to save her ailing husband Wu Huiquan. Han gives her money and sends her home. After Wu recovers, he buys a child as a token of thanks to Han, who discovers a vermilion birthmark on the child’s left sole, thus reuniting with his own son Yuyin.

Main Cast: Wang Peiyu, Cai Xiaoying, Gu Liang, Li Wenwen, Tong Hang, Wang Dun

The running time of the performance is approximately 3 hours including an intermission of 15 minutes.

18/6 (Tue) 7:30pm

 Wu Song Fighting in the Tavern


A masterpiece belonging to the Gai Jiaotian tradition, it is best known for a fight in total darkness between Wu Song (military role) and Sun Erniang (female warrior role), a tightly choreographed ‘dance’ that is finely nuanced to match the adversaries’ changing emotions.


After Wu Song kills his sister-in-law and Ximen Qing, he is exiled to Mengzhou and stays overnight at the tavern owned by Zhang Qing and his wife Sun Erniang. That night, while Zhang is out, Erniang attempts to murder Wu but fails. In the nick of time, Zhang returns, recognising Wu as the hero who killed a tiger. Enmity is resolved.

Main Cast: Hao Shuai, Yang Yanan

 Su San Escorted to Trial and Trial by Three Magistrates from Yu Tang Chun


One of the most well-known Peking Operas, Yu Tang Chun is also distinguished by its demands on the female role. The scenes Su San Escorted to Trial and Trial by Three Magistrates have long been recognised as the embodiment of the work’s essence. Wearing a cangue, Su San’s restricted movements attest to the actor’s skill and artistry.


The courtesan Su San (Yu Tang Chun) and Wang Jinlong pledge their love. When Wang becomes destitute, Su San gives him money to return to Nanjing. Later, the procuress sells Su to the rich merchant Shen Yanlin as a concubine. Shen’s jealous wife, however, wants to poison her rival, but her husband drinks the poison by mistake and dies, with Su being sentenced to death by a corrupt provincial magistrate. A retrial is set and Su is escorted to Taiyuan, where one of the three magistrates in the retrial is Wang Jinlong, but his emotional reactions are noticed by the two magistrates and impede the proceedings.

Main Cast: Shi Yihong, Yang Nan, Wang Dun, Fu Xiru, Chou Yipin

The running time of the performance is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes including an intermission of 15 minutes.

19/6 (Wed) 7:30pm

 Seven Heroes and Five Gallants


Created by the Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company in 1957, Seven Heroes and Five Gallants is adapted from the novel Three Heroes and Five Gallants. A tour de force of Shanghai-style Peking Opera for its elaborate staging and featuring the full range of roles, this work tests actors’ artistry and dramatic pacing. Heralded for its combat scenes featuring wusheng (military), wudan (female warrior), wuchou (military comic) roles, Seven Heroes and Five Gallants not only features Qi-style (Zhou Xinfang-style, also known by the stage name Qilin Tong) vocal passages, but also liantan that is distinctly Shanghai — seven actors share an extensive vocal passage, as the group tries to appease the rivalry between Bai Yutang and Zhan Zhao.


Zhan Zhao is courted by the Song Emperor, moving to the capital where he is given a royal title of ‘Imperial Cat’, thus angering Bai Yutang, who wants to engage him in a duel. Bai steals into Kaifeng one night, taking three treasures from Bao Zheng, leaving a letter challenging Zhan Zhao to Xiankong Island to retrieve the items. Zhan goes to Xiankong Island and is trapped therein. Luckily, he is saved by Jiang Ping and the treasures are recovered. Bai is still angry, refusing to listen to the pleas of his fellow heroes and leaps onto the Dulong Bridge. Xu Qing destroys the bridge and Bai falls into the river. No one knows whether or not Bai survives...

Main Cast: Fu Xiru, Wu Xiangjun, He Shu, Gao Mingbo, Xie Tianci, Hao Jie, Lu Su, Wang Dun, Yang Yang, Yang Yanan, Yang Nan

The running time of the performance is approximately 3 hours including an intermission of 15 minutes.



Information provided by the arts groups


China National Peking Opera Company

The China National Peking Opera Company was established in 1955 with Mei Lanfang as founding president. The Company comprises many divisions, including its First, Second and Third Troupes, along with the Mei Lanfang Theatre and the People’s Theatre. Since its founding, the Company has gathered a large number of outstanding performers, playwrights, directors, composers and stage designers, among them Li Shaochun, Yuan Shihai, Ye Shenglan and Du Jinfang. Members of the Company’s First Troupe include some of the best and most popular artists: principal artist Yu Kuizhi is heralded as the top Peking Opera artist today; Troupe Leader Li Shengsu is internationally celebrated as a successor in the Mei Lanfang tradition. In the past six decades, the Company has created more than 500 repertory works, including such iconic titles as The Boar Forest, Three Attacks at Zhu Village, Lu Bu and Diao Chan, The Legend of the White Snake and The Tale Under the Willow Shade. The China National Peking Opera Company has toured extensively around the world, having performed in more than 50 countries and regions.

Website: www.cnpoc.cn



Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company

Established in 1955 with founding president Zhou Xinfang (stage name: Qilin Tong), the Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company is now helmed by Shan Yuejin. The Company’s illustrious history includes Peking and Kunqu Opera artists who started their own performance traditions: Zhou Xinfang, Gai Jiaotian, Yu Zhenfei, Huang Guiqiu and Zheng Faxiang, as well as artists such as Yan Huizhu, Tong Zhiling and Li Yuru, all of whom contributed to the solid foundation for the Company’s development. Outstanding artists in the Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company today include Shang Changrong, Li Bingshu, Chen Shaoyun, Xi Zhonglu, Shi Yihong and Wang Peiyu. Among the Company’s most important repertory works are Cao Cao and Yang Xiu, The Glorious Zhen Guan Years of the Tang Dynasty, The Disinterested Governor Yu Chenglong and Success or Failure Xiao He, among numerous traditional classics and new historical dramas. The Company has received numerous accolades, including the China Xiqu Society Award, Wenhua Award, China Peking Opera Festival Gold Medal, Five ‘One’ Project Award, Grand Award at the China Art Festival and the Shanghai Literary and Art Prize. Not only is the Company renowned in China, it has toured to more 20 countries in Europe, America and Asia, enjoying an international following.

Website: www.pekingopera.sh.cn

House Programme


houseProgramme01

13-15/6 Thu-Sat 7:30pm Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre, West Kowloon Cultural District
17-19/6 Mon-Wed 7:30pm Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre, West Kowloon Cultural District
stage

Price

 $480

 $380

 $280

 $180

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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