The Leisure and Cultural Services Department's Chinese Opera Festival 2010 will bring Zhengzi opera, a 600-year-old theatrical genre, to Hong Kong audiences.
Zhengzi opera refers to the theatrical genre using the "official dialect" of the Central Plains from where it evolved, as distinguished from the vernacular plays popular in southern Fujian and Chaozhou. Its history therefore dates back more than 600 years and its provenance is attributable to "nanxi" (opera of the southern part of ancient China). Zhengzi opera was inscribed in the first listing of National Intangible Cultural Heritage in China in June 2006.
The Zhengzi Opera Troupe of Lufeng City of Guangdong was formerly the Double Happiness Zhengzi Opera Troupe founded in the 19th century during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty (r. 1836-1895). In 1992, it won a Repertory Award and Performance Award at the All China Showcase of "Best of China" Repertories with "The Sworn Brothers' Reunion". Zhengzi opera is divided into two main categories, the civil and the military. At the Hong Kong performances, the Zhengzi Opera Troupe of Lufeng City of Guangdong will perform a civil play "Three Girls Vying to Be Executed" and a military play "Battledrums of Jinshan", as well as two traditional productions revived by veteran artists "The Sworn Brothers' Reunion" and "The Gift of a Sword from Baihua". It is rare for such a full spectrum of this ancient subgenre to be staged in Hong Kong.
Performances details are as follows:
July 2 (Friday) 7.30pm
Theatre, Ko Shan Theatre
"Three Girls Vying to be Executed"
July 3 (Saturday) 7.30pm
Auditorium, Tuen Mun Town Hall
"Battledrums of Jinshan"
July 4 (Sunday) 7.30pm
Auditorium, Sha Tin Town Hall
Excerpts: "The Sworn Brothers' Reunion", "Vengeance at the Lion's Pavilion", "Killing Liang Ji", "The Gift of a Sword from Baihua"
Tickets priced from $100 to $220 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 ticketing enquiries and reservations, call 2734 9009; for programme enquiries, call 2268 7325. 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.
Free fringe activities have been organised for this programme. Details are as follows:
Talk (in Putonghua)
"Traditional art of Zhengzi Opera"
July 3 (Saturday) 2.30pm
AC2, Level 4, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Speaker: Peng Meiying (Zhengzi Opera Troupe of Lufeng City of Guangdong)
"Chinese Operas with an Ancient Lineage - The Theatrical Art of Puxian Opera and Zhengzi Opera"
June 15–July 4 Foyer, Tsuen Wan Town Hall
June 18–July 4 Foyer, Ko Shan Theatre
Ends/Thursday, June 10, 2010