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Acclaimed virtuosi Pei Yanling to perform at Chinese Opera Festival opening (with photos)

     Pei Yanling, who has been acclaimed by critics as "a treasure of China and humankind" for her contribution to traditional Chinese theatre, will open the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's fifth Chinese Opera Festival in June.

     Pei will lead a talented cast from the Peking Opera Research Centre of Hebei in presenting classic traditional excerpts from Peking and Kunqu opera. Each evening's double-bill performance will include one "civil" and one "military" play to enable the audience to witness the diversity of Chinese opera and Pei's versatility and virtuosity in her chosen art form. Traditional repertoires will include excerpts from "Seeking Shelter for His Son", "The Showdown at Cuiping Mountain", "Xue Pinggui Returning to His Humble Abode" and "The Drunken Wu Song Beats up Jiang Zhong".

     In a guided performance titled "Exploring the Art of Chinese Traditional Theatre", Pei will demonstrate four excerpts from the wusheng (military male roles) repertory of Kunqu opera. They include "Lin Chong's Nocturnal Escape", "Shi Xiu Visiting the Fort", ˇ§Nazha's Cosmic Hoops" and "On Centipede Range". She will sing the four versions of the set tune Xin-Shui-Ling to illustrate the uniqueness of the four characters ˇV Lin Chong, Shi Xiu, Nazha and Wu Song. She will also demonstrate her singing technique in the Peking opera excerpt "Stealing His Father"s Remains from Hongyang Cave".

     Pei Yanling is renowned in Chinese opera and is ranked as a National Class One Performer. She is currently Director of the Peking Opera Research Centre of Hebei. Born into a family of artists in Chinese theatre, Pei started her career on stage aged 5 and has played leading roles since she was 9. She is known for her virtuosity in a wide variety of roles in both "civilian"  and "military" repertoires of Peking, Kunqu and Clapper opera. Hailed as a national treasure, she won the Grand Prize at the Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre and the Magnolia Award for Special Contribution to the Performing Arts. Her signature works, "The Magic Lotus Lantern", "Nazha Wreaking Havoc in the Sea", "Zhong Kui the Ghost-eater" and "The Story of the Actor Xiang Jiuxiao" have been made into films. Pei is also vice-chairman of the Chinese Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the vice-chairman of the China Theatre Association.

     Since its establishment, the Peking Opera Research Centre of Hebei has been graced by outstanding artists such as Song Dezhu, one of the "Four Famous Young Dan", and the renowned Yang Ronghuan, Guan Shengxi and Ma Youliang. Over the years, the company has further distinguished itself with an array of talented artists versatile in all sorts of roles in a wide variety of repertoires. In 2008, under the leadership of its present director Pei Yanling, the company presented the new opera "The Story of the Actor Xiang Jiuxiao". The awards the company has received include the Outstanding Opera Award at the 11th Chinese Theatre Festival, the Special Prize at the 13th Wenhua Award for Performance, Special Prize at the 10th Hebei Spiritual Progress Best Works Award, and the Hebei Cultural Development Best Works Award. In 2009/2010, the company received funding through the National Theatrical Art Quality Improvement Project to further develop its repertoire. The company has toured the United States, Canada, France, Japan, Denmark, Singapore, Africa, Taiwan and Hong Kong to great acclaim in each location.

     Details of the programme are as follow:

June 20 (Friday)
Excerpts: "Promoting to High Officialdom", "The Boundary Pass", "Borrowing the Fan", "Seeking Shelter for His Son" and ˇ§The Showdown at Cuiping Mountain"

June 21 (Saturday)
Excerpts: "The Melon Stealer", "Nazha's Cosmic Hoops", "Xue Pinggui Returning to His Humble Abode" and "The Drunken Wu Song Beats up Jiang Zhong"

June 22 (Sunday)
"Exploring the Art of Chinese Traditional Theatre" and excerpt of "Xue Pinggui Testing His Wife"

     All performances will be staged at 7.30pm at the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets priced at $420, $320, $220, $120 are now available at URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by telephone credit card booking. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (limited tickets for full-time students and CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis) Please refer to the Chinese Opera Festival programme booklet or individual programme leaflets for group booking discount schemes.

     For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7325, or visit For ticketing enquiries, please call 3761 6661. For telephone credit card booking, please call 2111 5999. For Internet bookings, please visit

Ends/Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Issued at HKT 14:45


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