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LCSD to restage Pai Hsien-yung's Kunqu opera "The Peony Pavilion"

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department will re-run Pai Hsien-yung's "youth version" classic Kunqu opera "The Peony Pavilion" in June.

The three-part performance of the romantic story will be staged at the Grand Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre at 7.30pm consecutively on June 5, 6 and 7 (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) with simplified subtitles in English.

The creative team of The Peony Pavilion includes production director Wang Shiyu, former director of Zhajiang Peking Kunqu Opera Arts Theatre; and artistic director Zhang Jiqing, the honorary director of Kunqu Theatre of Jiangsu. Two young artists from the Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theatre of Jiangsu - Shen Fengying and Yu Jiulin - play the lead roles.

"The two renowned Kunqu maestros have trained and imparted their theatrical know-how to the cast for more than a year," Pai said.

Since its premiere in Taipei in 2004, the youth version of "The Peony Pavilion" has been played 72 times in Hong Kong, Macau and a number of Mainland cities to full-houses.

"The support of the cultural cognoscenti is essential to its success, undeniably it is the outstanding performances of the two young leading actors, which have won the hearts of all," Pai said. "Traditional yet modern, their elegant, 21st century renditions have injected fresh blood and life to this 400-year-old drama; in so doing, they may have been immortalised as the 'Romeo and Juliet' of the Chinese community."

The blending of ancient and 21st century aesthetics remains the greatest challenge in this production. To realise an opera with 500 years of history for a modern stage for a new lease of youthful life, Pai explains, "While we respect tradition, we do not follow it blindly. Modern methods are adopted in a reasonable manner. Our production adheres to 'orthodox' Kunqu singing, acting and recitative styles, but utilises modern lighting techniques and stage design in such a way that they would enhance and not impede the performances."

Tickets priced at $100, $180, $240 and $320 are now available at URBTIX outlets, while senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients can have 50% off (limited quotas for students and CSSA recipients on a first-come, first-served basis). A 10% discount applies to Friends of LCSD performing venues. Patrons will also enjoy 20% off for a single purchase of the three-part performance.

For enquiries about the programmes, call 2268 7323 or visit . Ticketing enquiries and reservations can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at .

Ends/Wednesday, April 19, 2006

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