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New opera to tell the friendship and love stories of Dr Sun Yat-sen

     To commemorate the centenary of China's 1911 Revolution, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department is presenting "Dr Sun Yat-sen", a new opera in three acts produced by Opera Hong Kong. The stage production covers the friendship and love stories of Dr Sun.

     The opera tells the story of the historical characters of Dr Sun; Charlie Soong, one of his best friends; and Soong's daughter Soong Ching-ling. Tenors Warren Mok and Wei Song act as Sun Yat-sen; sopranos Hei Hui and Nancy Yuen play Soong Ching-ling; and basses Gong Dongjian and Peng Kangliang appear as Charlie Soong.

     In the three-act opera production, Dr Sun Yat-sen meets Charlie Soong, a missionary with patriotic motives, in Shanghai in the early days before the revolution. Being of the same age and sharing the same patriotic beliefs, the two become firm friends. But the friendship that lasts for a quarter of a century becomes rocky when Sun falls in love with Soong's second daughter, Ching-ling. Sun not only loses an important supporter of his revolutionary activities but also a best friend who has weathered many storms with him in the past.

     In the following years, Sun and Ching-ling's efforts to overthrow the government do not meet with success. But their vision never wavers. Just as they are deep in insurgent activities, bad news arrives - Charlie Soong is very ill and dying. Although Sun cannot make it to the side of his friend's deathbed and seek final reconciliation, a gift from Charlie, though belated in coming, shows he did not take the grudge to his grave. Once again, their destinies are brought together as one.

     The Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Opera Hong Kong commissioned the renowned new-generation Chinese composer Huang Ruo and local award-winning playwright Candace Chong to write the new opera. The production team is also made up of a strong list with producer and tenor Warren Mok, National Class One Director Chen Xinyi, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, conductor Yan Huichang and a cast of renowned Chinese singers.

     Huang Ruo earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in composition from the Juilliard School. Huang's writing spans orchestra, chamber music, opera, theatre and modern dance to sound installation, multi-media, experimental improvisation, folk rock and film. Awarded First Prize by the prestigious Luxembourg International Composition Prize and the Henry Mancini Award at the 1995 International Film and Music Festival in Switzerland, Huang has been cited by the New Yorker as "one of the most intriguing of the new crop of Asian-American composers". The New York Times listed one of his concerts as the second on its list of the "Top Ten Classical Moments of 2003".

     Candace Chong graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, with a Master's in Playwriting. She also holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and an Advanced Diploma in Playwriting from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Besides writing plays, Chong also devotes herself to script translation. Her recent translation works include "Betrayal", "Fat Pig", "Chinglish" and "Flowers for Algernon". Chong's latest work, "Murder in San Josˆm", premiered at the 37th Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF). The success and demand saw the production re-staged by the HKAF in August 2009. This was the first time an HKAF programme had been re-staged outside the usual festival period. The play also earned Chong her fourth Best Script Award in 2010.

     The "Dr Sun Yat-sen" opera in three acts (to be performed in Putonghua with Chinese and English surtitles), is presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department in association with Opera Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. The opera will be staged at 7.45pm from October 13 to 15 (Thursday to Saturday) and at 3pm on October 16 (Sunday) at the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets ranging in price from $130 to $880 are now available at all URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by credit card telephone booking. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (limited tickets for full-time students and CSSA recipients on a first-come, first-served basis). For group booking discounts, please refer to the programme leaflet.

     For details on the programme and the cast and opera, please call 2268 7321 or visit For ticketing enquiries, please call 2734 9009. For credit card telephone bookings, please call 2111 5999. For Internet bookings, please visit

Ends/Monday, July 18, 2011
Issued at HKT 17:09


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