We will start off the evening with a guided tour in English of the Grand Theatre of the newly opened Xiqu Centre located in the West Kowloon Cultural District. The building’s striking design, created by Revery Architecture (formerly Bing Thom Architects) and Ronald Lu & Partners, was inspired by traditional Chinese lanterns and blends traditional and contemporary elements to reflect the evolving nature of the art form. Stepping through the main entrance, shaped to resemble parted stage curtains, visitors are led directly into a lively atrium with a raised podium and space for presenting the rich and ancient culture of Chinese traditional theatre.
The Grand Theatre accommodates over 1,000 seats and a unique feature of the Grand Theatre is its location at the top of the building, which allows for a large open atrium below with space for exhibitions, stalls, and xiqu (戲曲) demonstrations and workshops.
Following a tour of the Grand Theatre, we will visit backstage to see Li Pui-yan (李沛妍) dress and make-up for her female role in the new Cantonese Opera performance, Lady Spring Fragrance《春香傳》. The performance will be in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles
Adapted from a well-known Korean folk tale, this new opera is set in imperial China and recounts the forbidden love between a courtesan’s daughter, Cheng Chunxiang (Lady Spring Fragrance), and Li Wenyan the son of a magistrate. Despite challenges and hardships, Cheng remains committed to her lover. But will Li risk a promising career and fight for Cheng in the face of danger?
Born in New York from a family of Cantonese opera heritage and a graduate from Wellesley College, Li Pui-yan (李沛妍) has been taught by numerous famed Cantonese opera performers. Since her debut as principal actress in Floral Princess (Youth Edition) in 2007, she has performed for the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Chinese Opera Festival, Macau Arts Festival as well as the benefit inaugural performance at ASHK’s Miller Theatre. Her repertoire ranges from classics to new productions such as Deling and the Empress Dowager Ci Xi and Arrant Revenge, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Recently, through working with artists from other disciplines, such as Ming Wong and Mariko Mori, she is inspired to further explore the cross-disciplinary potential of this traditional art form. Aside from performing, Li is devoted to the English translation of Cantonese opera librettos and has served on the Cantonese Opera Advisory Committee in Hong Kong for various terms.