A new chamber opera on the life of the 19th century Hong Kong pirate Zhang Baozai will premiere in Shanghai next month.
"The Legend of Zhang Baozai" will be staged by Musica Viva Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) Alumni Association and is a HKSAR cultural programme for Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo).
The original music, script and lyrics were created with the support of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.
The Shanghai premiere will take place on August 20 and 21 at the Drama Theatre of the Shanghai Grand Theatre.
The performance will be sung in Putonghua with Chinese and English surtitles.
Created under the artistic direction of Lo King-man with music by Lo Hau-man, lyrics by Chris Shum and scenario script by Mandu Cheung, the chamber opera tells of pirate leader Zhang Baozai's life from early adulthood to old age.
The story centres on the activities of Zhang, who controlled a fleet of 1,000 ships terrorising the coastal regions of southern China during the early 19th century.
Zhang was well known for his audacity, tactics and swift action. He was said to have been kind and considerate to indigenous villagers but merciless towards Mandarin officials and imperialist foreigners.
Lo King-man said, "As one of the best-known legendary figures in Hong Kong's history, Zhang's story is connected to many existing historical sites and monuments such as the Cheung Po Tsai Cave and Ma Wan Temple."
As well as focusing on Zhang's life, "The Legend of Zhang Baozai" also features interesting geographical references and indigenous customs dating back to Hong Kong's period of transition from village community to modern metropolis.
Comprising seven scenes with original music and dance, the opera offers a colourful display of traditional festivals and local customs including the Spring Lantern Festival, Cantonese opera puppet show, the Cheung Chau Bun Festival and the Fire Dragon Dance during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
In "The Legend of Zhang Baozai", singers, dancers, musicians, designers and production specialists are all alumni of the HKAPA.
The title role will be played by renowned tenor David Quah. Zhang's wife, Madam Shi, is performed by mezzo-soprano Melody Sze. Other principal artists include soprano Margaret Yim, baritone Albert Lim and tenor Wong Chi-chuen.
Established by a group of performing arts enthusiasts, the majority of members of Musica Viva Hong Kong are also HKAPA graduates.
For full programme details and ticketing information, please visit the Event Calendar section on Hong Kong's Expo website, www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk.
"The Legend of Zhang Baozai"
Date: August 20 and 21, 2010
Venue: Drama Theatre, Shanghai Grand Theatre
Length: Approx 1 hour 20 minutes
In Putonghua with Chinese and English surtitles
Ticket prices: RMB 220, 180, 120
Booking hotline: (+86 21) 6386 8686
Online booking: www.shgtheatre.com
Musica Viva (852) 6976 2877
Shanghai Grand Theatre (+86 21) 6386 8686
Ends/Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Famous tenor David Quah will play the title role in "The Legend of Zhang Baozai" which comprises original songs and dances.
The legendary life of pirate leader Zhang Baozai in the 19th century is depicted in a newly created chamber opera, "The Legend of Zhang Baozai".
The production and performing artists in "The Legend of Zhang Baozai" are all alumni of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts who will showcase their talent and enthusiasm in the Shanghai premiere at Expo 2010 Shanghai China.