Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Empress Dowager's beloved Peking opera "Elegant Sounds of Good Times" to be staged in July

     The Chinese Opera Festival 2015 will present two performances of former Empress Dowager Cixi's beloved Peking opera, "Elegant Sounds of Good Times", in July. Translated literally, the Chinese title "Zhaodai Xiaoshao" means "an era of political stability and prosperity".

     During the Qianlong reign (1735-1796), the imperial court compiled a number of kunqu operas, of which "Elegant Sounds of Good Times" is one. It is a story based on the novella "Saga of the Yang Family of Generals". Later, during the Guangxu reign (1875-1908), the Empress Dowager Cixi ordered the Office for Theatre Performances to adapt the drama to "luantan" - a Peking opera version. The script of the present performance by the Peking Opera Theatre of Beijing is based on the palace version. The original script, notes on rehearsals and costumes, historical graphics and related relics and records were all found in the palace archives. They were then meticulously restored by seasoned Peking opera experts and veteran artists, who went through a total of 121 scripts to pick material related to the Sushuang horse for compilation. The present play consists of two episodes. The first episode tells how Princess Qiong'e and Yang Silang (fourth son of the Yang family) help Meng Liang to steal a thoroughbred horse meant for tribute. The second episode reveals how evil courtiers try to use the pretext of trying out the Sushuang horse in order to incriminate all those at the Yang Residence, resulting in Dowager She beating up Xie Tingfang.

     Every effort is made to re-enact the true essence of the Peking opera that graced the theatre over 100 years ago, from the symbolic and suggestive stage curtains, the entry and exit curtain-lifting routines, the ritual of setting up stage and removal, the pared-down ensemble placement, the "full mask" make-up, to tracing original features of singing, speech delivery and performing skills. Featuring renowned Peking opera virtuosi Wen Ruhua, Hu Wenge, Tan Xiaozeng, Zhang Shu, Han Juming, as well as talented artists of the troupe, the experienced company is adept at performing with natural vocal projection to showcase the original qualities and spirit of the glory years of Peking opera.

     "Elegant Sounds of Good Times" (Volume I and II) by Peking Opera Theatre of Beijing will be staged at 7.30pm on July 17 and 18 (Friday and Saturday) respectively at the Auditorium, Ko Shan Theatre New Wing. Tickets priced at $120, $240 and $380 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.

     A talk by artists on the topic "The Art of Peking Opera: Elegant Sounds of Good Times", will be held at 7.30pm on July 16 (Thursday) at AC2, 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 renowned Peking opera artists Tan Xiaozeng, Wen Ruhua, Hu Wenge, Zhang Shu and Han Juming. The talk will be conducted in Putonghua. Admission is free. Limited seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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

Ends/Monday, June 15, 2015
Issued at HKT 15:38


Print this page