As one of the highlights of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's Chinese Opera Festival 2012, Taiwanese opera (Gezi opera) will be staged in Hong Kong for Chinese opera lovers for the first time in June.
Popular in both the Mainland and Taiwan, Gezi opera is a vernacular form of theatre that first gained popularity in Yilan in northeastern Taiwan. Its musical origin was in the short songs brought to the region by early settlers from Zhangzhou, in the Mainland's Fujian Province. Later the songs were combined with local ballads and narrative singing to come into their own. The earliest local genre was "luodisao" - playlets with song and dance performed in parades for temple fairs, and sung with a natural voice in the local dialect of Hokkien. Later, it incorporated the vernacular theatre of Siping opera, Liyuan opera, Gaojia opera, Luantan (or Beiguan) opera and Chiu Chow opera to become a genre typically staged in temples to entertain the gods. With incorporation of the more integrative elements of Peking opera, it evolved further into "indoor Gezi opera" staged in city theatres.
Tang Mei Yun Taiwanese Opera Company is currently one of the most distinguished Gezi opera troupes in Taiwan and has a strong and impressive cast. With Tang Mei-yun, Hsu Hsiu-nien and Xiao Mi as its core players, the troupe will be staging two well-received Gezi opera works in Hong Kong. The founder, Tang, comes from a family of Gezi opera actors and is known for her handsome stage persona and superb singing and acting. "The Princess and the Hunter", in which she is atypically cast in a military male role, has enjoyed enduring popularity. "Love on Pregnancy", which features the "golden triumvirate" of Tang, Hsu and Xiao, explores the yearning, struggles and compromises in human nature - a serious theme that is presented in a comedic format. Its performance presents both a gratifying experience for the actors and satisfying theatre for the audience.
Details of the performances are as follows:
June 23 (Saturday) "The Princess and the Hunter"
June 24 (Sunday) "Love on Pregnancy"
The performances will be staged at 7.30pm at the Auditorium, Kwai Tsing Theatre. Tickets priced at $240, $180, $140 and $100 are now available at all URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by telephone credit card 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 students and CSSA recipients available on a first-come, first-served basis.) Please refer to the programme booklet for group and package booking discount schemes.
For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7325, or visit www.cof.gov.hk/2012/eng/prog03.php. For ticketing enquiries, please call 2734 9009. For telephone credit card bookings, please call 2111 5999. For Internet bookings, please visit www.urbtix.hk.
There will be various kinds of extension activities to tie in with the performances:
Artists on Their Art: The Art of Gezi Opera - Why the Folks Love It?
(Conducted in Putonghua)
June 22 (Friday), 7.30pm
AC1, Level 4, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Speaker: Tang Mei-yun
Admission is free. Limited seats available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Exhibition on the Art of Gezi Opera
June 2 to 6; Exhibition Corner, Yuen Long Theatre
June 12 to 24; Foyer, Ko Shan Theatre
Admission is free.
Ends/Wednesday, May 16, 2012