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Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe to launch Chinese Opera Festival 2015

     The Chinese Opera Festival 2015 begins in June with the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe launching the annual event with three classic performances.

     The Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe will stage three Shanghai-style pieces to shed light on this distinctive dimension of Peking opera. The Shanghai style emphasises the dramatic integrity and rhythm of the play as an organic whole, and is regarded as particularly demanding in terms of acting and performing.

     The Peking opera classic "Farewell My Concubine" was premiered in the early years of the 20th century, and in recent decades has appeared on stage chiefly as an excerpt. The Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe brings together a group of veterans to create this full-length version based on the script in the "Collected Plays of Mei Lanfang" published in 1959, a version that has long eluded today's audiences. A stellar cast includes Shang Changrong, a Peking opera great widely acclaimed as a national treasure; Shi Yihong, an accomplished dan (female) actor of the Mei (Lanfang) school, and other major actors from the Troupe. Chen Shaoyun, a master of the Qi (Lintong) school, will star in "How a Dead Cat was Substituted for a New-born Prince" (Part I), another signature piece of Shanghai-style Peking Opera. His nuanced portrayal of a selfless man in this stirring story is sure to amaze the audience.

     Shanghai-style Peking opera is also known for its acrobatic feats. "Sun Wukong's Battle at the Spider's Web Grotto" is an acrobatic fantasy tale featuring highly stylised, challenging and creative stunts, coupled with exceptionally original and daring stage effects, promising a theatrical experience that sets itself apart. In this version elements of old and new are put together in a way that serves to accentuate the essence of traditional Chinese theatre, offering a glimpse of the extraordinary riches of Shanghai-style Peking opera. The play has boasted a remarkable run of over 600 performances since its premiere in the 1980s.

     The Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe was established in 1955 by founding president and Peking opera legend Zhou Xinfang. The current president is Shan Yuejin. For more than five decades, the troupe has garnered a wealth of talented actors who have helped build its repertory, which includes a variety of traditional and contemporary productions. The Troupe has won the most esteemed accolades and laurels in China including the National Fine Stage Arts Project Award, the Grand Award at the China Arts Festival, the Wenhua Grand Award, the China Theatre Award, the Peking Opera Festival of China Gold Award, the Five "One" Project Award of the Central Propaganda Department, the China Xiqu Society Award, and many more. The Troupe makes frequent tours to Europe, America and Asia, and has performed in more than 20 countries in addition to Hong Kong and Taiwan.

     Details of the performances are as follows:

June 19 (Friday)
"Farewell My Concubine" (Complete Edition)

June 20 (Saturday)
"How a Dead Cat was Substituted for a New-born Prince" (Part I)

June 21 (Sunday)
"Sun Wukong's Battle at the Spider's Web Grotto"

     The performances will be staged at 7.30pm at the Grand Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets priced at $120, $220, $320 and $420 are now available at URBTIX. 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 are available on a first-come, first-served basis). Please refer to the Chinese Opera Festival website or programme leaflet for group booking discount schemes.

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

A Talk by Artists on their Art on the topic "The Art of Peking Opera, Shanghai Style" will be held at 7.30pm on June 18 (Thursday) at AC1, Level 4, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Chinese opera researcher Chan Chun-miu will be the moderator of the talk. Guest speakers will include the President of the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe, Shan Yuejin, and renowned Peking opera artists Shi Yihong and Li Jun. The talk will be conducted in Putonghua. Admission is free. Limited seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ends/Monday, May 18, 2015
Issued at HKT 11:15


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