Following last year’s success, we will organize another evening of Cantonese opera. We will start with an English guided tour of the Grand Theatre at the new 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.
Following a tour of the Grand Theatre, we will have a special backstage visit with Ms. Li Pui-yan (李沛妍) as she dons her dress and make-up for her leading female role in the Cantonese Opera performance, “Tale of the Purple Hairpin”《紫釵記》. After the visit, we will attend the opera which will be performed in Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles.
“Tale of the Purple Hairpin”《紫釵記》 by playwright Tang Tik-sang唐滌生is one of the best known and most performed Cantonese operas ever written. Set in the Tang dynasty, “Purple Hairpin” tells the story of female entertainer Huo Xiaoyu霍小玉 and poet Li Yi李益. The lovers were kept apart by a powerful imperial courtier, Lu, who wanted Li to marry his daughter instead. Lu sent Li to a faraway post on the frontier and spread lies about Li’s change of heart over Huo, until Yellow Robe, a mysterious swordsman intervened to set things right and reunite the two.
Born in New York from a family of Cantonese opera heritage and a graduate from Wellesley College, Ms. Li Pui-yan (李沛妍) has studied under 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, Ms. 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.