Chi Xiaoqiu, a famous exponent of the Cheng school trained by Wang Yingiu, a disciple of the school's founder Cheng Yanqiu, will be in Hong Kong next month to perform in the show "The Legacy of Cheng Yanqiu - A Peking Opera Stylistic Study". The performance will launch the Chinese Opera Festival 2010.
The Cheng school of Peking opera was developed by Cheng Yanqiu, one of the four great actors in "dan" (female) roles in Peking opera. The performing style he originated is known as the Cheng school. Cheng was recognised for his unique vocal style with a tone projected from the back of the head and unearthly lilts and eerily tragic effects known as "ghostly shifts". In his delivery, Cheng highlighted the contrast in volume and register, with the high tones flowing and robust, and the low like a murmuring brook, making his voice emotionally charged, soul-stirring and tearfully touching. If Mei Lanfang's art is likened to the opulence of the peony, then Cheng's is the more muted but equally beautiful chrysanthemum. The "Theatre Monthly" poll of 1931 in the capital listed Cheng as second to Mei, but in terms of vocal technique, he was voted first among the four, a testimony of Cheng's vocal charm that won him numerous fans at the time.
The performance in Hong Kong will star a famous exponent of the Cheng school, Chi Ziaoqiu, who won the 2nd Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre at the age of only 19. Also performing in Hong Kong will be Peking opera stars Guo Wei, Lu Yang, Zhou Jing and Yang Lei, among others. This is a rare occasion to enjoy the exceptional art of Peking opera with a selection that was made famous by Cheng.
Details of the performances are as follows:
June 4 (Friday) 7.30pm
Screening of "The Life of Cheng Yanqiu"
"The Purse of the Auspicious Unicorn"
June 5 (Saturday) 2.30pm
"Castigation from a Former Empress"
"Testing His Wife at Wujiapo"
"A Spring Dream in the Boudoir"
June 5 (Saturday) 7.30pm
"The Incarceration of Su San"
"Tears on the Desolate Mountain"
June 6 (Sunday) 7.30pm
"Zhu Yingtai Refuses to Be Married"
"Snow in Summer"
"Cai Wenji Returning to Han Land"
All performances are to be staged at the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets priced from $100 to $350 are now available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessions will be granted to senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. (Limited tickets for students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients are available on a first-come, first-served basis.) A "Chinese Opera Festival 2010" group discount is available; please check the details in the programme leaflets.
For programme enquiries, call 2268 7325; for ticketing enquiries and reservations, call 2734 9009. Internet bookings are available at www.urbtix.hk. For credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999. Visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/cp for more information on the programme.
There are free seminars and an exhibition for this event:
Seminars (in Putonghua) offer free admission with limited seats available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Wang Yuzhen (Director of the Peking Opera Theatre of Beijing)
Lu Ao (Associate Director of the Peking Opera Theatre of Beijing)
Wu Jiang (Director of the National Peking Opera Company)
Cheng Yongjiang (son of Cheng Yanqiu)
Chi Xiaoqiu (Company Director of the Youth Company of Peking Opera Theatre of Beijing)
June 2 (Wednesday) 7.30pm
Lecture Theatre, Hong Kong Central Library
Topic: Exploring the World of Cheng Yanqiu
June 6 (Sunday) 3pm
Room AC1, Level 4, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Topic: The Legacy of Cheng Yanqiu - Past, Present and Future
An exhibition on "The Art and Life of a Genius in Peking Opera - Cheng Yanqiu" will be held from May 15 to 30 at the Foyer, Ko Shan Theatre, and from May 31 to June 4 at the Foyer Exhibition Area E4, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Admission is free.
Ends/Tuesday, May 4, 2010