Closing the World Cultures Festival 2011 - Enchanting Arts of Asia, the all-female and Plum Blossom Award-winning Shanghai Yueju Opera House will present a diverse line-up of classic productions, new historical works appearing in Hong Kong for the first time and excerpts from outstanding Yue operas.
Yue opera's melodious vocal style carries the refined air characteristic of the Jiangnan region. By incorporating both theatrical and cinematic elements, the genre takes a contemporary approach to acting, bringing its art closer to everyday life and urban audiences, making it more engaging for the younger generation. Despite its short history, Yue opera has rapidly grown to become the second most popular opera form in China and was included among the first activities listed on the national list of intangible cultural heritage.
Founded in 1955, Shanghai Yueju Opera House ranks among China's most renowned in this field. The troupe has created and adapted more than 400 classic, historical and contemporary works. Its cast members and productions have won the Wen Hua Award for Performance, the Plum Blossom Prize and China Theatre Festival accolades many times, among other awards. The troupe has also frequently toured overseas, visiting Asia, Europe and the US.
In the coming Hong Kong visit, the troupe will stage five performances at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre from November 17 to 20. Tickets for "A Dream of Red Mansions", the first among the five performances, are all sold out. Details of the other programmes are as follows:
1) "Mei Long Town"
November 18 (Friday), 7.30pm
A tender teenage romance, "Mei Long Town" has made an indelible impression on opera specialists and general audiences alike, remaining hugely popular after numerous performances. First staged in 2001, the opera went on to win 14 awards at the 7th China Theatre Festival for its production, script, directing, acting, music and stage design.
2) Selected scenes from Yue operas
November 19 (Saturday), 2.30pm
A mesmerising cast from the Shanghai Yueju Opera House performs excerpts from leading works including "Butterfly Lovers - A Heartbreaking Reunion", "Xiang Lin's Wife - Heaven Asks" and "Thrice Tricks the Groom".
3) "The Story of Western Garden"
November 19 (Saturday), 7.30pm
The "Story of Western Garden" is based on a legend and an earlier Kunqu work of the same name. With this hilarious new production, Shanghai Yueju Opera House puts a delightful new spin on a classic romantic comedy.
4) "Han Feizi"
November 20 (Sunday), 7.30pm
First staged in 2008, "Han Feizi" draws out the epic qualities of elegant Yue opera. Qian Huili brings the rich, resonant vocal style characteristic of the Xu school to her portrayal of Han Fei while adding an air of barely suppressed restraint, heightening the dramatic tension. This is an extraordinary romantic tale that takes all-female Yue opera to new heights.
The programmes will feature Chinese and English surtitles. Tickets priced at $360, $280, $200 and $120 are now available at URBTIX. Half-price tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Other booking discounts of up to 20 per cent are available.
Programme brochures of the World Cultures Festival 2011 - Enchanting Arts of Asia presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department are available at URBTIX outlets or at the website, www.worldfestival.gov.hk.
For programme enquiries, call 2370 1044. Internet bookings can be made at www.urbtix.hk. For credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999.
Ends/Wednesday, November 16, 2011
"Mei Long Town" collected 14 awards at the 7th China Theatre Festival for its production, script, directing, acting, music and stage design.
A mesmerising cast from the Shanghai Yueju Opera House will perform excerpts from leading works including "Butterfly Lovers - A Heartbreaking Reunion".
Shanghai Yueju Opera House's new production, "The Story of Western Garden", is based on a legend and an earlier Kunqu work of the same name.
"Han Feizi" is an extraordinary romantic tale that takes all-female Yue opera to new heights.