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October
Classic highlights: "A Night with Hebei Bangzi Opera" Nov. 6-8

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With its repertoire of familiar folk tales and its uniquely soaring voices, the Hebei Bangzi Opera Troupe of Beijing takes up residence at the Concert Hall of Hong Kong City Hall from November 6 to 8.

"A Night with Hebei Bangzi Opera" is part of the "Legends of China" festival organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

With almost 400 years of history behind it, Hebei Bangzi opera is a natural gem among traditional Chinese operatic styles, having evolved from the Bangzixi (clapper opera) of Shanxi and Shaanxi. Characteristic of the art form is a sonorous, impassioned vocal style in a high register.

Its highly expressive nature brings out emotional nuances and renders it particularly suitable for tragic stories. This regional genre has exerted considerable influence on Peking Opera and other Chinese traditions, in terms of repertory, vocalisation skills, singing and other performance techniques.

Each of the three performances of "A Night with Hebei Bangzi Opera" features a different programme:

November 6

'Executing Huainu' and 'Defeating the Enemy' from "The Heroine with Long Knife"

Main cast: Li Er'e

"Chen Sanliang"

Main cast: Peng Yanqin, Yin Xinquan

November 7

"Cool Breeze Pavilion"

Main cast: Peng Yanqin, Wang Yinghui, Gao Demin

November 8

"Wang Baochuan"

Main cast: Liu Yuling, Wang Yinghui, Yin Xinquan, Liu Fengxiang

Hebei Bangzi Opera Troupe of Beijing was founded in 1951 as Hebei Bangzi Opera Troupe for Youth of Beijing; it took its present name in 1970. Since its establishment, it has staged more than 120 productions. Under the direction of veteran performers such as Li Guiyun, the troupe has groomed many outstanding artists, including Liu Yuling, Wang Fengzhi, Li Er'e and Peng Yanqin, all winners of the Plum Blossom Award.

The troupe has made many appearances abroad, including the 11th International Ancient Greek Drama Festival in Delphi, Greece, the Patra International Art Festival, and the BeSeTo Theater Festival of China, Korea and Japan.

Curtain time is 7.30pm for all performances. Tickets priced at $220, $180, $140 and $100 are available at all URBTIX outlets.

Half-price tickets are offered to senior citizens, full-time students, people with disabilities and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Recipients. For group bookings and packages, discounts of up to 20% apply.

Telephone reservations can be made on 2734 9009. For credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999. Internet bookings can be made at www.urbtix.gov.hk

Programme details can be found in the brochures obtainable at URBTIX outlets or at www.legendsofchina.gov.hk

For programme enquiries, call 2370 1044.

Ends/Friday, October 17, 2003

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