Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the "New Year Celebration Cantonese Opera Programme" by the Golden Blossom Opera Troupe will be staged in January 2013.
Cantonese opera virtuosi Wai Chun-fai, Chan Wing-yee, Leung Wai-hong, Wan Yuk-yu (January 1 and 5 only), Lai Yiu-wai (January 10), Lam Po-chu and Sun Kim-long will perform in the programme, which will feature "The Red Peony", "Over the Moon" and "Contending for the Bride".
"The Red Peony" tells the story of Hanyi, who sells paintings at a market, and flower seller Shen Juxiang. Juxiang is spotted by Gui Shouling as a potential courtesan, and once kept at Shouling's court she is groomed for the role. Within a year she makes a name of herself, but all along she never stops sending financial assistance through a friend to Hanyi so that he can travel to the capital and sit for the imperial examination. By the time Hanyi returns home afterwards to look for her, Juxiang has become a famous courtesan using the alias of Red Peony. To thwart their reunion, Shouling asks them to visit his student Xie Baotong, but this is actually a trap to have them locked up. However, the letter written by Shouling to Baotong is full of howlers. It causes a great deal of hilarity, and unexpectedly helps Hanyi and Juxiang to join in wedlock.
"Over the Moon" tells of Xiahou Danfeng, a young lady who is betrothed to the hideous-looking Tang Tianfu. Her elder brother, Xiahou Yong, is a general. But when General Sima Qingtian of the state of Wuzhu arrives for a diplomatic visit, Yong cannot go to meet him because he has been wounded in a hunting expedition. Danfeng therefore takes his place by disguising herself as a man. The two meet and, as valiant warriors leading their respective armies, they immediately become firm friends. Danfeng even follows Qingtian to seek an audience with the King of Wuzhu. But soon Qingtian sees through Danfeng's disguise, and the two become secret lovers. Danfeng's betrothal to Tang Tianfu is still unresolved, however, and Yong meanwhile happens to meet Princess Lan Shanfeng by chance and love grows between them. Can the two couples overcome all their difficulties and get married?
"Contending for the Bride" tells the story of Gui Nanping, the son of an imperial envoy. Arrangements had been made before Nanping's birth for him to marry the daughter of a man who has since renamed himself as Yu Youcai and become an infamous loan shark. Nanping falls in love with Yu's daughter Jiezhen, but trouble arises when Nanping sees Yu at work as a loan shark. When Yu decides to have Jiezhen marry a rogue instead, Jiezhen disguises herself as a bridesmaid and substitutes her sister, Jiebing, as the bride for the wedding ceremony. The parties then take the case to court, accusing each other of different misdeeds. When the imperial envoy finally arrives at the scene, Yu eventually agrees to marry his daughter to Nanping and the story comes to a happy ending.
Details of the performances are as follows:
January 1 (Tuesday); Auditorium, Tsuen Wan Town Hall; "The Red Peony"
January 5 (Saturday); Auditorium, Tai Po Town Hall; "Over the Moon"
January 10 (Thursday); Theatre, Ko Shan Theatre; "Contending for the Bride"
All performances start at 7.30pm. Tickets priced from $100 to $260 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 full-time students and CSSA recipients available on a first-come, first-served basis.)
For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7325, or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/Programme/en/chinese_opera/program_105.html. For ticketing enquiries, please call 2734 9009. For telephone credit card bookings, please call 2111 5999. For Internet bookings, please visit www.urbtix.hk.
A pre-performance talk will be held from 4pm to 5pm on January 1 at the Lecture Hall, Tsuen Wan Town Hall. Speakers will include Wai Chun-fai and Chan Wing-yee. Admission is free. Limited seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Ends/Wednesday, November 21, 2012