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Chinese Opera Festival 2013: Talks on the Art of Kunqu Opera

Venue Date & Time Price
AC1, 4/F, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Speaker: Le Yiping

Le Yiping specialised in huadan (flirtatious female) roles in kunqu at the Shanghai Traditional Performing Arts School in 1959, and expanded her repertoire with plays for zhengdan (young cultivated female) and guimendan (high-born lady) roles. She was a mentee of Zhang Chuanfang, but was also coached by other famous kunqu masters of the ‘Chuan’ generation, such as Zhu Chuanming and Fang Chuanyun. She joined the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe in 1978, and has been teaching and promoting the art of kunqu in Hong Kong since 1985. Between 1988 and 1992, she was teaching at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the Institute of Chinese Opera Arts while, at the invitation of RTHK, was simultaneously the scriptwriter and host of a radio series, Introduction to Kunqu Performing Art, which ran for more than 30 episodes. She resettled in the United States in 1992, and gave talks and performances at the Chinese Kwun Opera Society of Monterey Park, California. Between 2002 and 2011, she was invited to teach at the Kunqu Society in New York. Le is currently living in Hong Kong.


Moderator: Cheung Lai-chun

Cheung Lai-chun graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1975 where she studied Fine Arts at the New Asia College.  She received kunqu training under Le Yiping in 1988, and began academic studies of Chinese sung music under two experts, Wang Zhenglai from Nanjing and Zhu Fu from Beijing. She is currently a member of the Commission for the Research and Promotion of Kunju of the Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture, Chairperson of the Concordia Kunqu Society of Hong Kong, and part-time lecturer at the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of the Hong Kong Baptist University where she teaches the art of kunqu. Over the years, she has been a keen promoter of this art form, teaching kunqu in the Chinese Opera Information Centre of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Chinese Civilisation Centre of the City University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture. In recent years, she has been dedicated to the exploration of the art of singing Chinese ancient songs. She gave vocal interpretations in two recent publications: The Vocalisation of the Ci Poems of Jiang Kui, published by the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of the Hong Kong Baptist University, and the vocal interpretation of ci poems and kunqu in the CD that came with A New Edition of the “Jiugong Dacheng Nanbeici Gongpu” with Exegeses, published by the Music Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


19 May 2013 (Sun) 2:30pm

Learning Experience with Mentors of the 'Chuan' Generation

The dependence on person-to-person coaching in Kunqu Opera has an archetypal influence, and the genre is famous for its ‘human-oriented legacy’. In this talk, the speaker will share her experience in being trained by the veteran actors of the ‘Chuan’ generation, i.e., those who have the character of ‘Chuan’ as the middle name for their stage names. She will talk about how she was inspired by her mentions, accumulated her knowledge and studied their specialisms, stylistic traits and teaching techniques, as well as their artistry. She will give demonstrations of the ‘waist-kerchief’ routines and stylized movements of her direct supervisor, Zhang Chuanfang, through the excerpt, Chunxiang Wreaking Havoc in the School Room.


26 May 2013 (Sun) 2:30pm

Vocal Techniques and Line Delivery─The Meticulous Performing Art Form of Kunqu Opera

Kunqu Opera requires meticulous oral delivery from the actors. In this talk, the speaker will explain the vocal styles of sung music in the genre, the use of vocal chords and enunciating parts in delivering the lines, diction in terms of voicing and end tones, lip shapes, breathing techniques etc.. There will be demonstrations using two excerpts, Yearning for the Secular World from A Sea of Sins and The Rendezvous at the Pavilion from A Romance of Pear Blossoms, with the former showing the techniques of using the ‘duster’, which is a prop used by actors playing Taoist nuns, and the latter, the techniques of using the folded fan. Special attention will be drawn to the delivery of singing, stylized movements, eye movement, facial expressions and pacing, as well as how all these should come together seamlessly for the most naturalistic effect.


 In Putonghua & Cantonese

Free Seating

Programme Length

Duration of each talk is about 1 hour 30 minutes


Tickets available from 12 April onwards at all URBTIX outlets, on Internet and by Telephone Credit Card 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 CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis)


Programme Enquiries:2268 7325

Ticketing Enquiries:2734 9009

Telephone Credit Card 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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