The young Cantonese opera talents of the Sunny Cantonese Opera Troupe, including Hong Wah, Sung Hung-bo, Johnson Yuen, Kim Lun, Kim Ying, To Wing-sum and Wang Kit-ching, all boasting outstanding technique and fine voices, will give two performances in March. The troupe will perform "Zhou Ren and His Sworn Brother's Wife" and "Five Rats Wreaking Havoc in the Eastern Capital" at 7.30pm on March 10 (Sunday) at the Auditorium of the North District Town Hall, and will perform a new Cantonese opera, "The Butterfly's Dream", at 7.30pm on March 17 (Sunday) at the Theatre of the Yau Ma Tei Theatre.
The story of "Zhou Ren and His Sworn Brother's Wife" takes place during the Ming dynasty when a corrupt courtier, Yan Song, has great power in the imperial court. He causes Du Wenxue, the son of loyal courtier Du Xian, to be falsely charged and therefore banished to the frontier as a soldier. Du asks his sworn brother, Zhou Ren, to take good care of his wife. But her beauty attracts Yan Nian, the Commander of the Squad under Yan Song, who forces Zhou to give her up. Zhou feigns compliance, but asks his own wife to go in her place. Mrs Zhou agrees to the plan, and in so doing she sets out to kill the scoundrel Yan Nian.
"Five Rats Wreaking Havoc in the Eastern Capital" describes Lu Fang, Han Zhang, Xu Qing, Jiang Ping and Bai Yutang of Xiankong Island, who are collectively known as "The Five Great Mice" for their chivalrous deeds during the Northern Song dynasty. At that time, Zhan Zhao, known as the "Great Swordsman of the South", is highly regarded by the Emperor. He is offered a senior post in the court and conferred the title "The Imperial Cat".
Bai is in love with Zhan Qing, Zhan Zhao's sister. However, being a "Mouse", Bai dislikes Zhan Zhao as his title is "The Imperial Cat". He therefore steals Zhan Zhao's treasured item that was given by the Emperor and leaves a letter challenging the Zhan siblings to a duel at Xiankong Island.
In "The Butterfly's Dream", Zhuang Zhou is practicing the Tao (the way to the truth). One day, on his way home, he passes by a new tomb and sees a woman, once famous for being a good wife, fanning the ground in the hopes that it would quickly harden and she could marry again. All this makes Zhuang even more pessimistic about the ways of the world. To test his wife's heart, he goes home and pretends to die. Then he transforms himself into a handsome young prince to seduce his wife, née Tian. As expected, Tian is so infatuated with the young man. On hearing that he is suffering from a headache, she picks up an axe to cleave open Zhuang's head in order to get his brain. Zhuang suddenly wakes up and reproaches his wife.
The performances by the Sunny Cantonese Opera Troupe for the Young Cantonese Opera Artists Series are presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Tickets priced at $90, $120 and $140 ($120 for North District Town Hall only) are now available at 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 are 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_145.html . Ticketing enquiries can be made on 2734 9009 and telephone credit card bookings on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at www.urbtix.hk .
A pre-performance talk (conducted in Cantonese) will be held at 7.30pm on February 27 (Wednesday) at AC2, Level 4, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Speakers will include Liu Yu-on, Hong Wah, Johnson Yuen and Wang Kit-ching. Admission is free with limited seats available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Ends/Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Issued at HKT 11:24