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Upcoming talks to showcase the charm of Chinese opera films

     The Leisure and Cultural Services Department presents two talks on Chinese opera films hosted by Yu Siu-wah, Associate Professor of Department of Music at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Director of the Chinese Music Archive. At the talks, to take place in late April and early May, Yu will reveal the underlying charm of Chinese opera films.

     Speaking about the talks, Yu said, "Any presentation on relevantly themed motion pictures for the Chinese Opera Festival must of course begin with Chinese opera. From the perspective of the history of Chinese music, films - whether in period costume or with a contemporary setting - are but modern extensions of the ancient theatrical genres of baixi and zaju. Additionally, our audio-visual technology should of course come into play. I do not consider myself a Chinese opera aficionado. Those among the audience who are steeped in these genres and repertoires will know far more than I do. What I hope to achieve in these two lectures is to share my views on some of the films I have chosen from historical, cultural, literary and music perspectives, and to use this as a basis for discussions and exchange."

     Yu Siu-wah's research interests include Cantonese opera, the music of Hong Kong popular culture, the music of the Manchus and Mongols of the 18th century Qing court, and music for movies. He has published two books: "Out of Chaos and Coincidence: Hong Kong Music Culture" (2001) and "Such are the Fading Sounds" (2005).

     Details of the talks are as follows:

April 29 (Sunday) 7.30pm
Topic: On the Element of Dreams in Film and Traditional Chinese Theatre
Content: This lecture will begin with a discussion on Zhuangzi's "butterfly dream", the several notable "dreams" in the "chuanqi" works of the Tang and Song Dynasties, and Tang Xianzu's "Waking from a Dream in Peony Pavilion". They will be discussed alongside the ballet interpretation of Debussy's "Prélude à l'après-midi d'une faune" by Nijinsky, which is another daydream. The last segment will be devoted to the various personae of "The Dream of the Red Chamber", featuring Zhou Xuan, Xu Yulan, Loh Ti and Lin Ching-hsia, concluding with Liu Ruoying's modern interpretation of "Peony Pavilion".

May 6 (Sunday) 7.30pm
Topic: On the Symbolism of Butterflies in Film and Traditional Chinese Theatre
Content: On Yam Kim-fai, Ling Po, Nicholas Wu to Tse Kwan-ho in "Liang Shanbo"; and Fong Yim-fun, Loh Ti, Charlie Yeung and Koi Ming-fai in "Zhu Yingtai". Further discussion will include the popularity of the "Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto" and the film "Liu San Jie". This lecture will attempt to take a cross-disciplinary look at films, Chinese opera and drama, while at the same time looking into cultural identities, sexual identities, social positions, and music.

     Conducted in Cantonese, the talks will be held at the Lecture Hall, Hong Kong Space Museum. Tickets priced at $60 (free seating) 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 available on a first-come, first-served basis).

     For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7325, or visit For ticketing enquiries, please call 2734 9009. For credit card telephone bookings, please call 2111 5999. For Internet bookings, please visit

Ends/Tuesday, March 20, 2012


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