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Talks about Peking opera to be held in support of Chinese Opera Festival 2013

     The annual Chinese Opera Festival presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will be launched soon. This year's event is set to feature a wide variety of performances and numerous fringe activities. Included in the programme is "Talks on the Appreciation of Peking Opera" hosted by Dr George Shen, Chief Editor Emeritus of the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

     Dr Shen is a seasoned connoisseur of Peking opera because he grew up steeped in the art form from a young age. His experience is reflected in the many anecdotes and insightful critiques on famous Peking opera actors included in one of his books. He gave six highly successful talks on Peking opera at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in 2010, and the contents of these were compiled into a book, "Six Talks on Peking Opera", published last year. He gave two talks on Peking opera in Hong Kong again in 2011 to packed audiences. Dr Shen currently lives in California, where he enjoys writing and Peking opera. He is the President of the Society of Chinese Performing Arts, San Francisco, and the Vice-President of the Mei Lanfang Society.

     Details of the talks are as follows:

April 12 (Friday)
Topic: Famous stock repertoire of "wusheng" (military roles) and "laosheng" (older male) roles: "Dingjun Mountain, Yangping Pass" and "Qin Qiong Inspecting the Army Formation"
Contents: "Laosheng" is a principal role type in Peking opera. It can be further divided into "laosheng" specialising in singing, acting and martial arts. "Wulaosheng" (older male in military roles) can again be subdivided into two types: "kaoba" (fully armoured) and "duanda" (close-combat fighting). While each role type in Peking opera has stringent standards for all four aspects of performance - singing, delivery of lines, acting and martial arts - this is of particular importance for the "wulaosheng". In the selected works, "Dingjun Mountain, Yangping Pass" contains two exemplary works for actors in "kaoba laosheng" (fully armoured older male roles), i.e. the actor would be an old man wearing full armour, wearing a long beard and holding a heavy weapon. On the other hand, "Qin Qiong Inspecting the Army Formation" is the exemplary work for those in "duanda laosheng" (close-combat fighting old man roles): the actor wears close-fitting pyjamas with tight-fitting sleeves, and holds a more easily wielded weapon. The two talks will explore the arts of the "wulaosheng".

April 13 (Saturday)
Topic: On "wusheng" and "hualian" (painted face) roles - citing "The Incident on Lianhuan Mountain" as an example
Contents: "The Incident on Lianhuan Mountain" is made up of several episodes, with actors in different roles playing the lead in each. "At the Fortress" and "Stealing the Horse" are performed by an actor in a "hualian" role, "Visiting the Grave" is performed by a "wusheng" and a "hualian", and "Stealing the Double Hookswords" features an actor in a "wuchou" (comic military male) role. "The Incident on Lianhuan Mountain" has made a number of stars in its history of performance because of its demanding skills, and some of the big names include Yang Xiaolou, Hao Shouchen, Hou Xirui and Jin Shaoshan. The most famous partnership, cast in the 1940s, was Gao Shenglin and Qiu Shengrong. This talk will explore the arts of the "wusheng" and "hualian".

     The talks will start at 7.30pm at the Lecture Hall, Hong Kong Space Museum. Tickets priced at $60 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).

     For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7325; for ticketing enquiries call 2734 9009. For telephone credit card bookings, call 2111 5999. Internet bookings are available at For more information, visit

Ends/Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:09


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