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Graphic: Press ReleasesGraphic: November
 
Cantonese opera master Yuen Siu-fai to showcase variety of roles in December
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     With 60 years of experience behind him, the versatile Cantonese opera master Yuen Siu-fai will collaborate with various Cantonese opera stars and young artists to demonstrate different theatrical roles in December.

     Five performances titled "A Showcase of Role Types in Cantonese Opera by Yuen Siu-fai" will take place at 7.30pm from December 16 to 20 (Monday to Friday) at the Theatre of Ko Shan Theatre. On December 16 (Monday), three Cantonese opera excerpts, namely "Asking for Tea from Song Jiang Killing Yan Poxi", "The Monkey King Thrice Beats the Bony Ghost" and "Chisang Town", will be staged. In "Asking for Tea from Song Jiang Killing Yan Poxi", Yuen plays the role of the lascivious Zhang Wen-yuan, who seduces Yan Poxi, the concubine of Song Jiang. Next, Cantonese opera virtuosi Wan Fei-yin and young talent Jim Ho-fung promise a bravura performance of martial art skills in "The Monkey King Thrice Beats the Bony Ghost". Yuen then plays the part of Judge Bao in "Chisang Town", using a singing style and stylised movements he has specially strengthened for the role, and which are different from those used in traditional "painted face" performances.      

     The well-known repertoire "Romance of the Phoenix Tower" will be staged on December 17 (Tuesday), in which Yuen plays the Lady Xia role as a transvestite female comic who is depicted as witty and funny. "The Orphan of Zhao" on December 18 (Wednesday) has been adapted by famous playwright Yip Siu-tak. Yuen plays the role of Cheng Ying, which involves both laosheng (black-bearded male) and mo (white-bearded male) roles. These two role types are completely different in terms of presence, acting, stylised movement and singing style. It is a highly demanding piece, requiring an actor with advanced singing and acting skills.

     On December 19 (Thursday), Yuen will perform as Liu Zhi-yuan's duankao wusheng (martial arts military male) in "The Reunion by a White Hare", a classic of the renowned playwright Tong Dik-sang. On December 20 (Friday), a traditional Cantonese opera southern school version of "The Death of Zhou Yu" will be performed, with Yuen wearing a full set of armour and thick-soled boots to play changkao wusheng (high-ranking military male) in the piece.

     The cast of the performances includes (in order of their Chinese names) Yuen Mo, Wan Fei-yin, Lui Hung-kwong, Lee Lung, Chan Wing-yee, Leung Wai-hong, Chan Ka-ming, Jim Ho-fung, Liu Kwok-sum and Lai Yiu-wai.

     Yuen Siu-fai began his training under the tutelage of the renowned Sun-ting Heung-yiu (the new Ting Heung-yiu) and later became a student of the famous Cantonese opera actor Mak Bing-wing. He was awarded the Hong Kong Artist of the Year in 1991, the United Kingdom's Badge of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II in 1992 and the Award for Arts Achievement by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in 2003. He was also invited to London to give a Royal Command Performance for Queen Elizabeth II. Yuen has devoted himself to the promotion of the traditional operatic arts and produced "The Orphan of the Zhao's" and "Fifteen Strings of Cash". He also wrote "The Long Slope Hill", "The Four Imperial Students", "Tracking in the Snow" and "The Return of Lady Man". Yuen is currently vice-chairman of the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong. He was granted an honorary fellowship by the Hong Kong Institute of Education in 2012.

     "A Showcase of Role Types in Cantonese Opera by Yuen Siu-fai" is presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Tickets priced at $100, $160, $240 and $350 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.)

     A meet-the-artist session (conducted in Cantonese by Yuen Siu-fai) will be held at 7.30pm on December 21 (Saturday) in Rehearsal Room 2 of Ko Shan Theatre. Admission is free with limited seats 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_384.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 .

Ends/Monday, November 4, 2013
Issued at HKT 17:20

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