The heroic tale of Liang Hongyu defeating her enemies on the battlefield is well known among the Chinese. Now a new ending is given to her legend.
Directed by China's premier avant-garde director Li Liuyi, with music by fellow Sichuanese composer Guo Wenjing, contemporary operatic classic "Liang Hongyu" is an exhilarating comedy narrated through a striking combination of vocal styles, with stage and set design transcending tradition to turn modernity on its head.
"Liang Hongyu" completes Li Liuyi's "Trilogy of War Heroines" which began with "Mu Guiying" in 2003, followed by "Hua Mulan" in 2004.
The music in "Liang Hongyu" is a true melting pot of Chinese regional operas as performers draw on different traditional and contemporary operatic styles including Sichuan, Kun, Peking, Huangmei, even Cultural Revolution model operas and popular music, together with direct quotations from "The Peony Pavilion" and "Farewell My Concubine" and an excerpt from "The Water Margin".
"Liang Hongyu" received its world premiere at the Holland Festival in June 2008. Dutch audiences responded to the slapstick action with raucous laughter, which is a testament to the power of art in crossing language barriers. Financial Times appraised the drama, "By any standards a breakneck romp".
The drama tells the story of Liang Hongyu, a famous prostitute who establishes herself as a valiant warrior but refuses to accept any reward from the Emperor. Instead, she chooses to live in seclusion. The keeper of the brothel where she lives preserves Liang's beauty and youth by using 72 kinds of herbs in her bath, but the heroine is plagued by loneliness and boredom until one night when she is visited by three spirits who come to cheer her up.
Li Liuyi, director and playwright of Beijing People's Art Theatre, is one of the pioneering dramatists in Chinese theatre. His works have received critical acclaim. He is also a trailblazer in crossing Chinese performing arts disciplines, creating numerous experimental Chinese opera works, marking his tracks in the paths of the untrodden with different kinds of Chinese operas. Most recently, Li branched out to ballet, adapting "The Peony Pavilion" for the National Ballet of China.
Guo Wenjing, a professor of Composition Department of the Central Conservatory of Music, is widely recognised as one of the most prominent composers now living in China. His representative works include orchestral pieces, concertos and symphonic music. Guo's chamber music have been performed all over the world, and his operas "Wolf Cub Village", "Night Banquet" and "Poet Li Bai" have been performed at major American and European arts festivals.
"Liang Hongyu" is one of the programmes of the New Vision Arts Festival organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. The programme is presented mainly in Putonghua, lyrics and dialogue with Chinese and English surtitles. It will be staged at 8pm on November 15 and 16 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Studio Theatre. A post-performance talk will be given after each performance.
Tickets priced at $120 and $240 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Group booking discounts of up to 20% are available.
Programme brochures are now available at URBTIX outlets or at the website www.newvisionfestival.gov.hk
For programme enquiries, please call 2370 1044. Credit card telephone bookings can be made on 2111 5999 and telephone reservations on 2734 9009. Internet bookings can be made at www.urbtix.hk
Ends/Friday, October 17, 2008
"Liang Hongyu" is a true melting pot of Chinese regional operas as performers draw on different traditional and contemporary operatic styles.
"Liang Hongyu" had its world premiere at the Holland Festival in June. Dutch audiences responded to the slapstick action with raucous laughter, which was a testament to the power of art in crossing language barriers.
"Liang Hongyu" is one of the programmes of the New Vision Arts Festival organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It will be staged at 8pm on November 15 and 16 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Studio Theatre.