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Chinese Opera Festival to present classical Shaanxi opera
     The Shaanxi Traditional Opera Research Institute and the Xi'an Yisu Society have been invited by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to perform in the Chinese Opera Festival. They will present spectacular classic excerpts in the four ancient genres of Qinqiang, Wanwanqiang, Meihu and Guanzhongdaoqing operas in July.

     The regional operas of Shaanxi Province are characterised by their diverse genres. Among them, Qinqiang, Wanwanqiang and Meihu operas were included in the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Qinqiang opera is the origin of the bangzi vocal style. It is widely popular in Shaanxi and Gansu areas. The singing style is resounding, powerful and intense, while the performances are full of energy. Wanwanqiang opera, which literally translates as bowl singing, is named after the copper bowls used as the main accompanying percussion. The romantic and delicate music of this opera genre features elegant lyrics. The music of Meihu opera belongs to the musical system of set tunes - the melodies are beautiful and the acts are performed in a lively style. Guanzhongdaoqing opera was originally sung at a seated round table, performed on a temporary stage in a plaza or as shadow puppet shows. The style of music and singing is mainly based on a variation of tempos. A stellar cast of winners of the Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre and two-time winners of the Award at the Shaanxi Traditional Opera Research Institute will present spectacular classic excerpts of these ancient genres.

     The Xi'an Yisu Society has also been invited to showcase representative works of Qinqiang opera. This century-old institution has a long list of renowned artists and it is one of the oldest active art troupes in the Mainland, having created and performed more than 700 plays in its repertoire since its establishment. The theatre venue of the Society has also been listed as an "Intangible Cultural Heritage Unit Preserved at the National Level". "Romance in the Closet" and "Watching the Maiden", to be presented in this festival, were the first productions staged by the Xi'an Yisu Society in 1915 and are timeless plays that have been delighting audiences for more than 100 years.

     Details of the performances are as follows:

July 21 (Friday), 7.30pm
Excerpts to be performed by the Xi'an Yisu Society: "Little Banquet", "Romance in the Closet", "Black Tiger on the Counter", "A Lesson from the Mother", "Watching the Maiden" and "On Broken Bridge" (Qinqiang opera)

July 22 (Saturday), 7.30pm
Excerpts to be performed by the Shaanxi Traditional Opera Research Institute: "Reunion at the Alms-giving Exercise" from "Shepherd's Ring", "Murder at the Temple" from "Executing Chen Shimei", "Su Wu the Shepherd" and "The Ghost's Lament" from "Touring West Lake" (Qinqiang opera) and "Borrowing a Cup of Water at Taoyuan" from "The Golden Jade Hairpin" (Wanwanqiang opera)

July 23 (Sunday), 2.30pm
Excerpts to be performed by the Shaanxi Traditional Opera Research Institute: "Good Neighbours" (Guanzhongdaoqing opera), "The Farewell" from "The Butterfly Lovers" (Wanwanqiang opera), "The Engagement" from "The Butcher-scholar" (Meihu opera), "The Drunken Concubine" (Wanwanqiang opera) and "Taking the Robe with His Spear" from "Breaking through Five Passes" (Qinqiang opera)

     The performances will be staged at the Auditorium of the Ko Shan Theatre New Wing. Tickets priced at $150, $260 and $340 are now available at URBTIX (www.urbtix.hk). For telephone credit card bookings, please call 2111 5999.

     For programme enquiries and concessionary schemes, please call 2268 7325 or visit www.cof.gov.hk.
Ends/Thursday, June 22, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:15
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