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Kunqu maestros to perform in HK

Kunqu maestros Tang Yuen-ha, Hou Shaokui and Cai Zhengren in association with Northern Kun Opera Theatre will perform in Hong Kong in December.

The "Northern and Southern Kunqu Virtuosi Showcase" will present the best selections from various Kunqu programmes. The ancient operatic art of Kunqu combines singing, dancing and acting with a minimum of stage props.

Tang Yuen-ha was the winner of the 8th Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre, and the only Hong Kong Chinese Opera artist to have received this highest honour in Chinese theatrical arts. Endowed with voice of broad range and rich tone, Tang is a versatile actress who can play civil as well as military roles, and is steeped in both Peking and Kunqu Opera. Her repertoire includes "The Legend of the White Snake" and "The Romance of the Condor Lovers" (both productions being combinations of Peking Opera and Kunqu Opera).

Hou Shaokui is famous for his wusheng (male military) roles, a National Class One Performer and winner of the 2nd Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre. He is known for his vivid interpretations of Lin Chong, Guan Yu and Zhao Kuangyin in the prized repertoires of "Nocturnal Escape", "A Dangerous Invitation" and "Escorting Jingniang Thousands of Miles". His imposing physique, robust persona, magnificent stage presence, sonorous voice, clear delivery and display of formal training have won him tremendous esteem in the world of Kunqu.

Cai Zhengren is a famous Kunqu artist and a National Class One Performer. His accolades include the 4th Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre, the Leading Performer Award at the 5th Magnolia Awards for the Performing Arts in Shanghai, and the Honour Award for Performance at the 1st China Kunqu Opera Festival. He has a mellow voice and performs with flair. His repertoire includes "The Palace of Immortality", "The Legend of the White Snake", "The Daughter of the Horse Trader", "The Story of the Lute" and "Li Bai's Inebriated Writing".

Hong Kong Jing Kun Arts Association was established in 1986, with the purpose of developing and promoting Peking Opera and Kunqu. In recent years, it has devoted much of its efforts towards the development of new, creative works. These include a new work based on an old myth, "The Precious Lotus Lantern" and an adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" called "The Great Belfry" and the Peking Opera based on the novel of the same title by Louis Cha, "The Romance of the Condor Lovers".

Northern Kun Opera Theatre was established in 1957, with the famous Kunqu maestro Han Shichang as the first Director. Its repertoire includes not only traditional works, but also original and adapted works with historical and modern themes. Its members Hou Shaokui, Cai Yaoxian and Yang Fengyi, Lui Jing, Wang Zhenyi and Shi Hongmei of the Young Performers' Group have been presented with the Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre.

Details of the programmes are as follows:

Dec 25 (Thursday)
"The Little Cowherd"; "The Boudoir Incident" from "The Story of the Chain Stratagems"; "Kneeling by the Pond" from "The Story of the Shrew Wife"; "Bidding Farewell to His Mother" and "Killed in a Rain of Arrows" from "The Iron Headgear".

Dec 26 (Friday)
"The Hunt" from "The Story of the White Rabbit"; "Sweeping Pine" from "The Story of the Lute"; "Wreaking Havoc in the Dragon Palace" from "The Journey to the West"; "Drafting the Petition", "Petitioner Pulled In" and "The Reunion" from "The Daughter of the Horse Trader".

Dec 27 (Saturday)
Wu Song and Pan Jinlian

Lyrics and dialogue with Chinese and English surtitles. Performances will be staged at 7.30pm at the Theatre, Hong Kong City Hall. Tickets priced at $280, $200 and $100 are now available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessions will be granted to senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students, and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (Limited tickets for students and CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis). There will be a 10% discount for every purchase of 4-9 tickets, 15% for 10-19 tickets and 20% for 20 tickets or more. A 10% discount is also available for Friends of LCSD performing venues.

For programme enquiries, call 2268 7323; for ticketing enquiries and reservations, call 2734 9009; for credit card telephone booking, call 2111 5999; for more information, visit .

Ends/Wednesday, November 5, 2003
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