The Leisure and Cultural Services Department's Chinese Opera Festival 2012 will present a new Cantonese opera production, "Justice Bao", in July. Cantonese opera virtuoso Yuen Siu-fai is the artistic director, librettist and stage director, and he will deliver a breakthrough performance in the title role of Justice Bao.
The legendary impartial, judicious and sagacious Justice Bao, or Bao Zheng, of the Song dynasty is often featured in Chinese traditional theatre. In the upcoming new Cantonese opera "Justice Bao", two stories revolving around him will be presented as a double bill. The two stories are "The Caucasian Circle", which is adapted from Yuan dynasty "zaju", and "Chisang Town", which is taken from Peking opera. The focus will be placed on the human aspects of Bao's character in addition to depictions of his usual uprightness and superb wisdom.
Yuen will strengthen Justice Bao's awe-inspiring image by singing with the "back-of-head tone", which is a vocalisation technique involving resonance that is used by actors in "painted face" roles in Peking opera. It is a deep, metallic voice, as opposed to the explosive vocal technique of the traditional Cantonese "painted face" delivery. In the excerpt "Chisang Town", veteran artist Yau Sing-po will play the cross-dressing role of Wu Miaozhen, Bao's sister-in-law who brought him up. Yau will portray the turmoil and internal struggle between motherly love and sacrifice that is faced when the life of Wu's son is at stake. Audiences should expect electrifying performances by these two great actors in this interpretation of the story of the famous historical Chinese judge.
Other renowned Cantonese opera artists participating in the performances include Lung Koon-tin, Nam Fung, Liu Kwok-sum, Lui Hung-kwong, Chan Ka-ming and others.
The new Cantonese opera "Justice Bao" was originally scheduled to be staged at 7.30pm on July 27 to 29 (Friday to Sunday) at the Theatre, Ko Shan Theatre. Due to an overwhelming response, an additional performance will be staged at 1.30pm on July 29 (Sunday). Tickets priced at $340, $260, $180 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 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/prog08.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 are free-admission talks about the programme:
July 13 (Friday), 7.30pm
AC1, Level 4, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Speaker: Yuen Siu-fai
August 1 (Wednesday), 7.30pm
Rehearsal Room (1), Ko Shan Theatre
Speaker: Yuen Siu-fai
Ends/Thursday, July 5, 2012