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Chinese Opera Festival 2012: Talks on Chinese Opera Films

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29 April 2012 (Sun) 7:30pm
On the Element of 'Dreams' in Film and Traditional Chinese Theatre

6 May 2012 (Sun) 7:30pm
On the Symbolism of 'Butterflies' in Film and Traditional Chinese Theatre

Lecture Hall, Hong Kong Space Museum
Per Lecture $60 (Free Seating)

Speaker (In Cantonese)
Yu Siu-wah (Associate Professor & Director of The Chinese Music Archive, Department of Music, The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

 
Programme Details

Any talk on relevantly themed motion pictures for the Chinese Opera Festival must of course begin with Chinese opera. From the perspective of the history of Chinese music, films – whether in period costume or with a contemporary setting – are but modern extensions of the ancient theatrical genres of baixi and zaju. Further to that, our audio-visual technology should of course come into play.  I do not consider myself a Chinese opera aficionado.  Those among the audience who have steeped in their favourite genres and repertoires should know far more than I do.  What I hope to achieve in these two lectures is to share my views on some of the films I have chosen from the historical, cultural, literary and music perspectives, as a kick-off for discussions and exchange.

29 April 2012 (Sun)
On the Element of 'Dreams' in Film and Traditional Chinese Theatre

‘Dreams’ and ‘butterflies’ are two important and closely related, if not overlapping, motifs in Chinese literature and traditional theatre. They may be described, in a nutshell, as the projection of ideas and behaviour (primarily ‘sensual love’ and ‘autonomy’) that cannot be realized in real life into the more vicarious forms, i.e., literature and the performing arts. Films are dream works, often spawned by literature and traditional theatre. This lecture will begin with a discussion on Zhuangzi’s ‘butterfly dream’, the several notable ‘dreams’ in the chuanqi works of the Tang and Song Dynasties, and Tang Xianzu’s Waking from a Dream in Peony Pavilion. They will be discussed alongside the ballet interpretation of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’une faune by Nijinsky, which is yet another daydream. The last segment will be devoted to the various personae of The Dream of the Red Chamber featuring Zhou Xuan, Xu Yulan, Betty Loh Ti and Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia, concluding with Liu Ruoying’s modern interpretation of Peony Pavilion.

6 May 2012 (Sun)
On the Symbolism of 'Butterflies' in Film and Traditional Chinese Theatre

From butterfly dreams, reincarnations, resurrections, to metamorphosis into butterflies, the recurrent imagery of the ‘butterfly’ is a recognizable feature in Chinese culture. The first Yue Opera films on the Mainland, The Love Eterne (1953) and a Huangmei Opera film, A Heavenly Match (1955), had a profound impact on the various performing arts genres of Hong Kong. Directorial efforts by Lee Tit (1958), Li Han-hsiang (1963), Tsui Hark (1994) and Raymond To (1998) all have their own regional and period characteristics, while generations of actors have given remarkable interpretations of the famous lovers. As ‘Liang Shanbo’, we have Yam Kim-fai, Ivy Ling Po, Nicholas Wu and Tse Kwan-ho; and as ‘Zhu Yingtai’, we have Fong Yim-fun, Betty Loh Ti, Charlie Yeung and Joyce Koi Ming-fai.  Further, one cannot overlook the popularity of the Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto and the film Liu San Jie in our discussion. This lecture attempts to take a cross-disciplinary look at films, Chinese opera, and drama, at the same time looking into cultural identities, sexual identities, social positions, and music.

 
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Speaker’s Profile

Yu Siu-wah participated in recording and performing sessions of Chinese music when he was still in secondary school. After graduating from the Department of Music of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 1978, he joined the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra as a full-time musician playing the erhu. After that, he worked at Radio Television Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra for publicity and promotions. In 1983, he went to the University of Maryland, USA, to study Ethnomusicology. Subsequently, he went to Queen's University at Belfast, North Ireland. Then, he studied musicology at Harvard and received his PhD in 1996. Yu is currently an Associate Professor at CUHK and the Director of the Chinese Music Archive. His research interests include Cantonese opera, the music of Hong Kong popular culture, music of the Manchus and Mongols of the 18th century Qing court and movie music, etc. He published two books: Out of Chaos and Coincidence: Hong Kong Music Culture (2001) and Such are the Fading Sounds (2005). He also edited several proceedings of conferences on modern Chinese orchestra and Chinese operas. His recent chapter “Forging a Cultural Heritage in Chinese Movies: Significations and Self-imposed Distancing from Chinese Culture in a Globalized Industry” is in East Asian Cinemas: From China, Hong Kong to Japan and South Korea (2011).

 
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Programme Length
Duration of each talk is about 1 hour 30 minutes
 
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Ticketing and Concession
Tickets available from 20 March onwards at all URBTIX outlets, on Internet and by Credit Card Telephone Booking
Half-price tickets available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and the minder, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (Limited tickets for full-time students and CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis)
 
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Enquiries

Programme Enquiries:2268 7325
Ticketing Enquiries:2734 9009
Credit Card Telephone Booking:2111 5999
Internet Booking:www.urbtix.hk

The presenter reserves the right to substitute artists and change the programme should unavoidable circumstances make it necessary
The contents of this programme do not represent the views of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department

 
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