The second wave of the "Chinese Clapper Opera Series" will be the "Clapper Opera of Shanxi" to be performed next month (August).
Featuring an array of national class one performers and winners of the Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre, the performances will start at 7.30pm at the Theatre, Hong Kong City Hall from August 26-28. All lyrics and dialogue will be with Chinese and English surtitles. Details are as follows:
August 26 (Wednesday)
Zhonglu Clapper Opera "Invocation in the Temple"; Puzhou Clapper Opera "Cao Zhuang"; Beilu Clapper Opera "Visiting His Wife" and Shangdang Clapper Opera "The Killing in the Temple".
August 27 (Thursday)
Puzhou Clapper Opera "Hiding in the Kiln"; Shangdang Clapper Opera "The Killing of Yan Xijiao"; Zhonglu Clapper Opera "Warming by the Fire" and Beilu Clapper Opera "Wu Zixu's Defection".
August 28 (Friday)
Beilu Clapper Opera "Yang Silang Visits His Mother"; Puzhou Clapper Opera "Chuncao Barging into the Court Room"; Shangdang Clapper Opera "Deploying Kou Zhun" and Zhonglu Clapper Opera "Phoenix Terrace Pass".
The four main divisions in Shanxi Clapper Opera, the Puzhou sub-genre, which is the oldest, in the southwest; the Shangdang, in the southeast; the Zhonglu, in the middle, and the Beilu, to its north, geographically distributed in the shape of an inverted "V".
Puzhou Clapper Opera is distinguished by its high flung emotions and robust ways of expression. The actors need to deliver their singing at wide intervals, prompted by the accompanying music. It is necessary, therefore, to use both natural and falsetto voices with skill. The high pitch also often suggests pained cries of distress or devastations.
Puzhou Clapper Opera is characterised by the physical pomposity of its actors. Many stunts became so popular that all the other sub-genre troupes made sure that they were included in their shows to attract theatre-goers.
Shangdang Clapper Opera was not as pure as Puzhou Clapper Opera in terms of genre. The stories are mainly inspired by the saga of the Yang family and the valiant general Yue Fei of the Song Dynasty, much loved because they represent patriotism, heroism and righteousness.
Based in the midland region of Shanxi, Zhonglu Clapper Opera came after the local troupes invited the Puzhou Clapper Opera artists to go there to perform and train them. It incorporated the harvesting rituals of "yangge" and other forms of sung music to evolve into a new sub-genre. Zhonglu Clapper Opera was renamed Jin Opera after 1949.
Beilu Clapper Opera also came from the Puzhou Clapper Opera family. Stylistic traits of this sub-genre is that the staging is often simple and pertaining to the local taste; the language often rather vulgar; the vocal skills considered with great importance; and there are often a lot of stunts, to the point of being crowd-pleasing.
"Clapper Opera of Shanxi" is presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Tickets priced at $100, $160 and $240 are now available at URBTIX outlets. Senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients may have 50% off (limited quotas for students and CSSA recipients on a first-come, first-served basis). A 15% discount applies to a combined purchase of tickets to "Clapper Opera of Shanxi" and "Clapper Opera Showcase" (September 28-30). A maximum discount of 20% is offered for group booking schemes. Please refer to the programme leaflet for details.
For enquiries about the programme, call 2268 7325 or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/cp. Ticketing enquiries and reservations can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at www.urbtix.hk.
Ends/Wednesday, July 15, 2009