Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, "A Showcase of Tong Tik-sang's Classics" by Ming Chee Sing Chinese Opera will be staged in October. Renowned Cantonese opera artists performing at the shows will include Koi Ming-fai, Ng Mei-ying, Chan Hung-chun, Yuen Siu-fai, Chan Ka-ming and Lui Hung-kwong.
The classical works to be performed are "Butterfly and Red Pear", "The Marriage of Three Smiles", "Crying on the Erlang Bridge", "West Mansion" and "Goddess of the Ninth Heaven".
"Butterfly and Red Pear" tells the story of Zhao Ruzhou, a talented scholar, and Xie Suqiu, a famous courtesan, who develop a mutual admiration through the exchange of poems over a few years yet don't have an opportunity to meet each other. In the meantime, Prime Minister Wang is colluding with the Jin nation, and he plots to send Suqiu to please the King of Jin. Ruzhou mistakenly thinks that Suqiu has died and is torn with grief. After several years, Ruzhou comes first in the imperial examination. Upon arrival at the Prime Minister's mansion, Ruzhou finds the hall decked with red pear blossoms. In the end, with the Prime Minister pleading guilty and Suqiu throwing herself into Ruzhou's arms, Ruzhou wins both justice and love.
"The Marriage of Three Smiles" tells story of Tang Bohu, a native of Wu County in the Ming Dynasty and a gifted scholar, who was hailed as one of the "Four Talented Scholars in Wuzhong" along with Zhu Zhishan, Xu Zhenqing and Wen Zhengming. One day, he pays a visit to Huqiu, where he meets Madame Hua and her charming maidservant Qiuxiang on the way to the Tianzhu Temple. Deeply bewitched by Qiuxiang's beauty, Bohu chases her all the way and puts all his effort into expressing his affection for her. In order to approach Qiuxiang, he barters his pride and sells himself to Hua's family. After overcoming many difficulties, Bohu eventually wins the beauty's heart and the story of "The Marriage of Three Smiles" finally offers sweet memories.
In "Crying on the Erlang Bridge", Jiang Xiezu walks across a dilapidated bridge to meet his lover, Yang Chunxiang, every evening. Xiezu's brother Yaozu repairs the bridge and renames it as Erlang, the name his little brother is often known by. Several years pass and the country is besieged by roving bandits everywhere. Xiezu loses contact with Chunxiang and goes to seek refuge with an uncle, Li Tongxuan, who lives in the city. Chunxiang is betrothed in return for money for her mother's medication and other debts. She is sold to become Yaozu's wife. At the wedding, when the groom learns the story of Chunxiang and Xiezu, he decides to leave. Chunxiang is set up and is to be executed. When the axe is about to fall on her, Xiezu manages to get back to Erlang Bridge and is devastated by the scene. Luckily Yaozu arrives in time, giving the one on the doorstep of death a glimpse of hope.
In "West Mansion", Yu Shuye's literary talents are greatly adored by a renowned courtesan named Mu Suhui. However, Shuye's father hears of his son's infatuation with a courtesan, and immediately orders him home and demolishes the West Mansion to expel all courtesans there. Shuye falls ill and stays in his study after being ordered home. On receipt of the blank letter delivered to him by Suhui's maid Hui, Shuye is baffled and collapses in despair. In fact, Shuye is not dead, but has only drifted into a dream in which he visits the West Mansion and finds Suhui unfaithful to him. When he comes around, he follows the order of his father and sets off to attend the imperial examination. On the day Shuye comes first in the imperial examination, he encounters Suhui on the street. After many twists and turns, their misunderstandings are dispelled, and they become a happy couple ever after.
"Goddess of the Ninth Heaven" is about Leng Shuangchan's meeting with Ai Jinglang, who sells paintings in the street. Unfortunately, on their wedding day, Prince Min takes the bride away by force. In desperation, Shuangchan begs to see Jinglang one last time. Deeply in love, the two are unwilling to separate and choose to die together. Finally, their unyielding love moves the Jade Emperor, who allows them to get married in heaven.
Details of the performances are as follows:
October 11 (Tuesday)
Theatre, Ko Shan Theatre
"Butterfly and Red Pear"
October 12 (Wednesday)
Theatre, Ko Shan Theatre
"The Marriage of Three Smiles"
October 15 (Saturday)
Auditorium, Tai Po Civic Centre
"Crying on the Erlang Bridge"
October 16 (Sunday)
Auditorium, Tsuen Wan Town Hall
October 30 (Sunday)
Auditorium, Yuen Long Theatre
"Goddess of the Ninth Heaven"
All shows start at 7.30pm. Tickets priced from $100 to $320 are now available at all URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by credit card telephone booking. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. (Limited tickets for full-time students and CSSA recipients.)
For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7325, or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/Programme/en/chinese_opera/000002e3.html. For ticketing enquiries, please call 2734 9009. For credit card telephone bookings, please call 2111 5999. For Internet bookings, please visit www.urbtix.hk.
A pre-performance meet-the-artist session (conducted in Cantonese) will be held before the performance on October 16, from 3.30pm to 4.30pm, at the Cultural Activities Hall of Tsuen Wan Town Hall. Speakers will include Cantonese opera artists Koi Ming-fai and Chan Hung-chun. All are welcome to join. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Ends/Tuesday, August 30, 2011