Programme Details

Chinese Opera – The Four Southern Opera Classics
A Thorn Hairpin, Slaying the Dog, The White Rabbit, Praying to the Moon

Regarded as the longest surviving form of Chinese opera, nanxi (Southern opera) originated in Wenzhou as an everyday popular revue during the turbulent Song and Yuan dynasties and was subsequently developed by literati into more refined works of kunqu, Cantonese opera and regional operas. This series showcases the four iconic nanxi plays in an exceptional line-up that spotlights the genre’s finesse in two operatic forms. An enthralling week to witness living history—not to be missed!

 

ABOUT

A week-long extravaganza of four major nanxi plays

Nanxi (Southern opera) originated in Wenzhou as everyday popular revue entertainment during the turbulent Song Dynasty and blossomed in subsequent eras, as various nanxi plays were developed into more refined works of kunqu, Cantonese opera and regional operas.

This exceptional series of the four iconic nanxi spotlights the genre’s finesse in two operatic forms. A Thorn Hairpin, based on the 2003 Cantonese opera adaptation by Yip Shui-tak, sees Liza Wang and Law Kar-ying co-starring in this opera for the first time. Performed by the Yongjia Kunqu Opera Troupe from Wenzhou, Slaying the Dog and The White Rabbit offer authentic flavours of nanxi from the Yongjia area of Wenzhou. Praying to the Moon, a heart-stirring work adapted by Cantonese opera’s greatest playwright, Tong Tik-sang, is staged with his original text by a stellar cast of budding Cantonese opera stars, under the guidance of Cantonese opera veteran Sun Kim-long.

A Thorn Hairpin (Mar 10-11)
A riveting drama of unwavering love through separation and reunion

Slaying the Dog (Mar 12)
An enthralling story of rustic charm, humour and moral reflection

The White Rabbit (Mar 13)
A gripping story of a woman’s strength through the hardships of feudal society

Praying to the Moon
(Part 1 - Mar 14, 2:30pm; Part 2 - Mar 14, 7:30pm)

A beloved Cantonese opera by the genre’s greatest playwright

 

PROGRAMME

A Thorn Hairpin (Mar 10-11)

This tale of romantic devotion in a feudal society is rarely performed in Hong Kong, and for this production audiences are in for a special treat: the lead roles are performed by on-and-off-screen star couple Law Kar-ying and Liza Wang, seen together in this opera for the first time. They are joined by a star-studded cast of veteran Cantonese opera artists—including Yau Sing-po in the gender-swapping role of the protagonist’s mother—some of whom performed in the 2003 adaptation by Yip Shiu-tak. The new staging recalls the indelible performance of the original production and preserves the poignant dramatic tension of the script while dazzling the audience with new elements added by Law Kar-ying.

Yongjia Kunqu Opera Troupe
Slaying the Dog
 (Mar 12)

Sixteen years after their last staging of the work, the Yongjia Kunqu Opera Troupe has revived Slaying the Dog with a revamped script that retains the wealth of proverbs and expressions from the era in which the opera was created.

The rich man Sun Hua, who dwindles his days away in the company of rogues, is shocked into action by the set-up of a “dog corpse” by his wife. When Sun finds himself accused of murder, his estranged younger brother comes to his aid. A tale of ordinary virtue in a cruel commercial society, Slaying the Dog addresses two types of mongrels—the family pet, and Sun’s band of thuggish friends.

Yongjia Kunqu Opera Troupe will raise the curtain of the evening’s performance with the joyous prologue Four Happiness, which was once staged before the opening of a new repertoire in the Yongjia area.

Yongjia Kunqu Opera Troupe
The White Rabbit (Mar 13)

A popular repertoire that has been adapted into many Chinese opera genres, The White Rabbit recounts the trials of the virtuous wife Li Sanniang. In her husband’s absence at a military post, Li endures a life of hard labour at the hands of her sister-in-law, singlehandedly bears a son and sends him away for a better life with his father. Will she ever escape the yoke of familial greed and be reunited with her husband and son?

This new version forsakes the supernatural elements of older adaptations and centres the drama on the harsh reality of rural life in a feudal society. With its close ties to local operas and the Wenzhou dialect, Yongjia Kunqu Opera Troupe’s The White Rabbit emphasises the artists’ energetic performance and expressive singing and gestures.

Praying to the Moon
(Part 1 - Mar 14, 2:30pm; Part 2 - Mar 14, 7:30pm)

Praying to the Moon, a Cantonese opera classic adapted by the legendary playwright Tong Tik-sang, is presented in its full glory at the 48th HKAF. Under the artistic direction of Sun Kim-long, the production is staged with Tong’s original script and presented in two parts in one day by an impressive cast of young Cantonese opera performers.

The opera follows the love story of a war-torn couple: from their first encounter to their union and separation, they remain steadfast in their love for each other, while a series of twists and turns takes the drama to its entrancing climax.

This popular work by Tong Tik-sang has often been staged with an incomplete script—it has been some 60 years since it was last performed in its entirety in Hong Kong. In presenting the original version of this Cantonese opera, Sun Kim-long puts the spotlight on the literary finesse of Tong’s original, immersing the audience in its lively pace, lyrical verses and dramatic power.

 

CAST & PRODUCTION

A Thorn Hairpin

Playwright
Yip Shiu-tak

Coordination
Liza Wang

Director
Law Kar-ying

Percussion Leader
Yau Lung

Ensemble Leader 
Pang Kam-shun

Cast 
Law Kar-ying as 王十朋
Liza Wang as 錢玉蓮
Yau Sing-po as 王 母
Lui Hong-kwong as 錢流形
Sun Kim-long as 孫汝權
Chan Ka-ming as 姚 氏
Wan Yuk-yu as 錢載和
Lam Po-chu as 小 蘭
Leung Yee-lin 飾 錢夫人

Yongjia Kunqu Opera Troupe
Slaying the Dog


Playwright
Chang Lieh

Revival Director
Yu Huaizheng

Drum
Zheng Yiyuan

Dizi
Jin Yaoyao

Cast
黃苗苗 飾 楊月真
李文義 飾 孫 華
杜曉偉 飾 孫 榮
劉漢光 飾 柳龍卿
張勝建 飾 胡子傳

Yongjia Kunqu Opera Troupe
The White Rabbit


Script Compilation / Director / Composer 
Zhou Zhigang

Artistic Director
Zhu Xiaoyu

Drum
Zheng Yiyuan

Dizi
Jin Yaoyao

Cast
孫永會 飾 李三娘
王耀祖 飾 劉智遠
胡曼曼 飾 咬 臍
黃苗苗 飾 張丑奴
張勝建 飾 李洪一
劉漢光 飾 竇 公

Praying to the Moon

Playwright
Tong Tik-sang

Artistic Director
Sun Kim-long

Ensemble Leader
Kent Chow

Percussion Leader
Chan Ting-pong

Cast 
阮德文 飾 蔣世隆
靈 音 飾 王瑞蘭
文 華 飾 秦興福
文雪裘 飾 蔣瑞蓮
一點鴻 飾 王 鎮
陳玉卿 飾 王夫人

 

SPECIAL NOTES

A Thorn Hairpin

Approx 3 hrs 45 mins incl one interval 
Performed in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles


Slaying the Dog

Approx 2 hrs 30 mins incl one interval for each performance
Performed in Putonghua with Chinese and English surtitles


The White Rabbit

Approx 2 hrs 30 mins incl one interval for each performance
Performed in Putonghua with Chinese and English surtitles


Praying to the Moon (Part 1)

Approx 2 hrs 20 mins incl one interval 
Performed in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles

Praying to the Moon (Part 2)

Approx 2 hrs 20 mins incl one interval
Performed in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles

 

CAST & PRODUCTION

A Thorn Hairpin

Playwright
Yip Shiu-tak

Coordination
Liza Wang

Director
Law Kar-ying

Percussion Leader
Yau Lung

Ensemble Leader 
Pang Kam-shun

Cast 
Law Kar-ying as 王十朋
Liza Wang as 錢玉蓮
Yau Sing-po as 王 母
Lui Hong-kwong as 錢流形
Sun Kim-long as 孫汝權
Chan Ka-ming as 姚 氏
Wan Yuk-yu as 錢載和
Lam Po-chu as 小 蘭
Leung Yee-lin 飾 錢夫人

Yongjia Kunqu Opera Troupe
Slaying the Dog


Playwright
Chang Lieh

Revival Director
Yu Huaizheng

Drum
Zheng Yiyuan

Dizi
Jin Yaoyao

Cast
黃苗苗 飾 楊月真
李文義 飾 孫 華
杜曉偉 飾 孫 榮
劉漢光 飾 柳龍卿
張勝建 飾 胡子傳

Yongjia Kunqu Opera Troupe
The White Rabbit


Script Compilation / Director / Composer 
Zhou Zhigang

Artistic Director
Zhu Xiaoyu

Drum
Zheng Yiyuan

Dizi
Jin Yaoyao

Cast
孫永會 飾 李三娘
王耀祖 飾 劉智遠
胡曼曼 飾 咬 臍
黃苗苗 飾 張丑奴
張勝建 飾 李洪一
劉漢光 飾 竇 公

Praying to the Moon

Playwright
Tong Tik-sang

Artistic Director
Sun Kim-long

Ensemble Leader
Kent Chow

Percussion Leader
Chan Ting-pong

Cast 
阮德文 飾 蔣世隆
靈 音 飾 王瑞蘭
文 華 飾 秦興福
文雪裘 飾 蔣瑞蓮
一點鴻 飾 王 鎮
陳玉卿 飾 王夫人


  • FESTIVAL PROGRAMME

    DATE / TIME

    A Thorn Hairpin10 & 11 / 3 / 2020  19:30 
    Slaying the Dog 12 / 3 / 2020  19:30 
    The White Rabbit 13 / 3 / 2020  19:30
    Praying to the Moon 14 / 3 / 2020  14:30 & 19:30

     

    VENUE

    Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre (10 & 11 Mar)
    New Wing Auditorium, Ko Shan Theatre (12 - 14 Mar)

     

    REMARKS

    Pre-show in-school workshop (conducted in Cantonese) is available for this programme. 
    (Applicable to School Members)