• May 22, 2021
    Saturday 2:00 PM HK Time

    West Coast (Vancouver)
    Friday May 21, 2021
    11:00 PM PST

    East Coast (Toronto)
    Saturday May 22, 2021
    02:00 AM EST

  • May 22, 2021
    Saturday 7:00 PM HK Time

    West Coast (Vancouver)
    Saturday May 22, 2021
    4:00 AM PST

    East Coast (Toronto)
    Saturday May 22, 2021
    07:00 AM EST

  • May 23, 2021
    Sunday 2:00 PM HK Time

    West Coast (Vancouver)
    Saturday May 22, 2021
    11:00 PM PST

    East Coast (Toronto)
    Sunday May 23, 2021
    02:00 AM EST

  • May 23, 2021
    Sunday 7:00 PM HK Time

    West Coast (Vancouver)
    Sunday May 23, 2021
    04:00 AM PST

    East Coast (Toronto)
    Sunday May 22, 2021
    07:00 AM EST

Encounter At the Flower Festival

Accompanied by her maid, a young woman is attending a spring flower festival in the fields. By chance her handkerchief is blown away by a sudden gust of wind and falls upon the table at which a poor scholar is selling his paintings and calligraphic works. This song describes their encounter and how the young woman takes charge of her own fate by suggesting the scholar visit her father to ask for her hand in marriage. Meanwhile her maid has been sent home to get an invitation from her father, but unfortunately it falls into the hands of a local rascal. This comic romance will get complicated, but at the end everything will work out happily.

Wan Yuk-yu

Jennifer Cheung

Chin Xianglian:
Rescue the Children

This opera is about the proverbial unfaithful husband Chen Shimei, who betrays his long-suffering wife Qin Xianglian to marry a princess after he has won the top prize in the Imperial Exam. His parents die of starvation due to a severe drought in his home village. Out of desperation his wife brought their two children to the capital in search of her husband. Chen sends a general under his command to kill his family, but the righteous man set Qin and her children free at the price of his own life. Eventually the table is turned and Chen is being investigated by a righteous Minister of Justice Bao Qingtian. The princess kidnaps the children to force Qin to withdraw her case. This duet captures a dramatic moment when the two women meet. Qin begs the princess to return the children to her. Both women stand firm to protect their own beloved, but at the end the princess feels the pain experienced by the mother and lets the children go.

Wong Chiu-Kwan

Fannie Ku

Iron Horses and Silver Wedding

This opera is written by Mr So Yung of Hong Kong based on a story of Wah Won-Lung, a general under the command of the man who later would found the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). Having defeated one of the rival kings, and persuaded another rival king to let him marry his daughter Princess Ngun-Ping, Wah later leads the army to attack his father-in-law. In one of the deadly battles his father-in-law is killed by a flying arrow. Feeling guilty, he surrenders himself to his wife who pursues him in the battlefield to avenge the death of her father. At a critical point, Wah’s sister shoots an arrow at the Princess to free her brother. This song captures a dramatic moment of conflict when husband and wife confronting each other in the battlefield.

Song Hong-bo

Ng Kit Chi

The Setting Sun and the Solitary Duck

There is a well-known novel bearing the same name written by Zhang Henshui about two ill-fated lovers: Ku Wu (the Solitary Duck) and La Xia (the Setting Sun), who has been forced into prostitution. Roughly based on the story in the novel, this song, composed by Mr. Choy Dick-Fan, describe the return of Ku Wu in search of his beloved. Unfortunately, La Xia is so sick that before Ku can fully expressed his love, she breathes her last breath. This song has been rearranged by Master Lau Wing-Chuen so that the tune in the style of 反線中板 by the female lead is to be sung instead in the style of 乙反苦喉 to bring out the depth of her sorrows.

Liang Zhaoming

Angela Keung

Xi Shi:
Swan Song on Leaving the Kingdom of Yue

The opera Xi Shi celebrates one of the four great beauties of ancient China – Xi Shi – who lived in the capital of the Yue Kingdom in the 7th to 6th century BC. In the story, the King of Yue is made a captive in the Kingdom of Wu where he endures ten years of hardship, while his loyal minister Fan Li recruits and trains some of the most beautiful maidens in Yue with a plan to bedazzle and distract the King of Wu. Xi Shi who tops all the beauties, has fallen in love with Fan Li, who convinces her to sacrifice herself to go on the mission. This song describes the emotions of the two lovers as Xi Shi leaves Yue for the Wu Kingdom. Lister to some of the poetry in the lyrics as Xi Shi complains to Fan Li: “I’m not fully recovered from my sickness, and yet you rush to send me away.” In her heart though she understands their mutual sacrifice, and is resigned: “In the solitary Wu Palace, only a blue bird can fly out, carrying my love to you!”.

Wan Yuk-yu

Vera Ma

Romance of the Western Chamber:
Extracting the Secret from Hongnian

The opera Romance of the Western Chamber is based on a play written in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 to 1368) by the famous playwright Wang Shifu. The story is set in the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907) about Cui Yingying and how she meets the scholar Zhang in a Buddhist monastery where her family is taking a rest while escorting her father’s coffin back to his home village. He falls in love with Yingying but cannot express his feelings except through poetry read aloud outside of the courtyard wall that separates their lodgings. A local bandit wants to take Yingying away and surrounds the monastery. Out of desperation, Yingying’s mother offers her daughter in marriage to whoever can drive the bandits away. Zhang is able to get his childhood friend, who is now a general stationed not too far away, to subdue the bandits. Yet, Yingying and Zhang are not set to get marry as her mother regrets over her rash promise. The lovers pine away with their unfulfilled love., Yingying’s maid Hongniang (Red Maid) takes pity on them and facilitated their secret union. The scene in this song describes how Yingying’s mother tries to extract the secret from the poor maid by threatening to beat her. There are many songs inspired by this scene, as Hongnian’s story is extremely popular throughout the ages. The version chosen is the one composed by Yang Zijing, and was originally sung by Hung Sin-Nui and Lan Chi-Pak. It opens with a melodic tune from a Mandarin pop song “Extracting the Secret from Hongnian”.

Liu Kwok-sum

Angela Keung

Why Is My Lord So Sad Tonight

This famous song is taken from the opera General Dick Ching Charging Through Three Check Points. A small nation called West Liao has been aggressively invading China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The Emperor dispatches General Dick Ching (1008 – 1057) to push them back. Legend has it that on the way to the frontier, Dick gets lost and somehow ends up in another minor nation called Sin-Sin near the border. The king of Sin-Sin has a warrior daughter who captures Dick, and falls in love with him. The king asks Dick to marry his daughter; Dick agrees. When the Song Emperor gets wind of it, he orders Dick’s mother to be imprisoned. In order to rescue his mother and get reunited with his troops, Dick needs to recover his sword and horse, both of which have been confiscated by the princess. This song depicts how he has to trick the affectionate princess into returning to him his sword and horse.

Wong Chiu-Kwan

Anthony Cheung

Rescue the Fallen:
Butterfly Intoxicated by the Flower

This opera is based on a play written by Guan Hanqing, one of the four greatest dramatists in the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). The story is about a prostitute Song Yinzhang. who is forced to give up her promise to marry an honest scholar for a rich playboy Zhou She in the Prefecture of Zheng . After her marriage, she is constantly bullied and abused by Zhou. She writes to her good friend Zhao Paner, a famous courtesan, who immediately goes to the Prefecture of Zheng. There she uses her beauty and charm to cheat Zhou into writing a letter of divorce to free Song from the bondage of marriage. She also manages to cheat him of his wealth. This duet, written by Mr Fong Man-Ching, depicts the scene in which the heroine bewitches the playboy into giving up both his wife and his money.

Sun Kim-Long, M.H.

Angela Keung

Looking for the Lost Purple Hairpin

This popular opera written by Hong Kong’s famous Tong Dick-Seng is based on a classical play entitled The Purple Hairpin written by the famous playwright Tang Xianzhu of the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644). It tells the moving love story of Lee Yick, a scholar from a western province whose reputation as a poet is well-known in the capital of the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), and Fok Siu-Yuk, a beautiful and talented lady well-versed in music and poetry. Fok is from a minor royal family and resides in the capital where scholars from around the country gather to sit for the Imperial Exam. This pair of lovers seems to be brought together by fate through the loss and found of Fok’s jade hairpin at the Lantern Festival in the capital. The lyrical song describes their first encounter when the scholar finds the hairpin and returns it to the lady.

Pui Jun-hin

Vera Ma

The Dreamy Encounter on the River Luo

The accomplished poet Cao Zhi (192 – 232) was the favourite son of Tso Tso (Cao Cao) who was the King of Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. This song depicts his unexpected encounter with his deceased lover Wanzhen in a dream-like scene over the River Luo, which he is going to cross on being exiled by his older brother. Wanzhen has been forced to marry Cao Zhi’s older brother. To resist him she jumps into the river to escape from a loveless marriage. As Cao Zhi begs Wanzhen to stay with him, he wakes up and realizes that the encounter has happened only in a dream.

Musically, look for the section of naam yum sung at various tempos. See how the singer expresses his emotions through the mastery of different tempos.

Wan Fai-Yin, M.H.

Anthony Cheung

Shen Sanbai and Yunniang

The story is based on the famous autobiography – Six Records of a Floating Life – by Shen Fu (aka Shen Sanbai). Sanbai and his wife Yun share a passion for literature and art. The young man’s indifference to officialdom draws strong rebukes from his father and stepmother, who eventually kick them out of their home. All of a sudden, the couple fall into abject poverty. To survive, the family unwillingly go different ways. Sanbai makes a living far away from his home town. His daughter marries early to lighten the family’s burden, but soon finds herself a widow.

Yun, too, eventually falls ill. Realizing that her days are numbered, she sends for Sanbai. This song depicts their reunion, which turns out to be their last farewell.

Zhan Hao-Feng

Olivia Tsang

A Decade at the Sui Palace
Dreaming of the Ling Mirror

The story is set in the Sui Dynasty (581-617). When the general of Sui attacks the Kingdom of Chen, the Emperor die, while his sister Princess Le Chang has to part with her husband. The couple breaks their bronze mirror into two halves, each keeping one, hoping that one day they will put the halves together. When the Sui general gets to know the Princess, he admires her. He takes her under his wings and pretends that she is his wife so as to protect her.

Loong Koon-Tin

Angela Keung

Kou Goes on a Mission:
Farewell to His Wife

Kou Goes on a Mission is a new opera written by Mr Sun Kim-Long. The story is set in the Song Dynasty (960–1279). When Yang learns of the plot between Pun and a foreign power to the north of China, he reports it to the court. However, as Pun’s daughter is a beloved concubine of the Emperor, nobody wants to touch the case. One of the princes recommends Kou to preside over this case, which sparks the plotting and struggles between Kou and the Puns. This song captures the moment when Kou leaves home for the capital, where he will be on a mission to bring Pun to justice. Fully cognizant of the challenges and dangers ahead, Kou says goodbye to his wife.

Wan Fai-Yin, M.H.

Sun Kim-Long, M.H.

Autumn Lament at the River Chu

This aria is for singing in the male voice. The protagonist laments the passing of his lover while he recalls nostalgically their past happy times. Unfortunately, the Japanese invaders have wreaked havoc everywhere and has caused the death of his lover. The composer is the well-known Wong Kwan-Yu. His lyrics are elegant and his musical rendition is unique. This is one of the most popular arias for singers employing the male voice.

Anthony Cheung

Xi Shi:
Tenderness & Love Revealed

The opera Xi Shi celebrates one of the four great beauties of ancient China – Xi Shi – who lived in the capital of the Yue Kingdom in the 7th to 6th century BC. In the story, the King of Yue is made a captive in the Kingdom of Wu where he endures ten years of hardship, while his loyal minister Fan Li goes about in search of beautiful maidens in Yue with a plan to bedazzle and distract the King of Wu. Xi Shi is the most beautiful of the recruits, but because she is just a commoner, Fan has to train her to sing and dance as well as in courtly etiquette. One day Xi Shi falls sick and Fan goes to visit her. This song describes how Xi Shi confesses her love for Fan and Fan reciprocates.

Loong Koon-Tin

Vera Ma

Xi Shi:
Boating on Lake Tai

During the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States periods, the lovers Xi Shi and Fan Li of the State of Yue set aside their love affair.  In order to resurrect her country, Xi Shi married herself to Fu Chai, King of Wu.  Fu Chai, bewitched by Xi Shi’s beauty, neglected affairs of the State.  Wu gradually dwindled in strength and was eventually conquered by Gou Jian, King of Yue.  After the fall of Wu, Fan Li left behind his fame and wealth and sought after Xi Shi in Taihu.  The couple was last seen floating on a boat in the midst of the lake.

Anthony Cheung

Jennifer Cheung

Dream of the Red Chamber:
Daiyu’s Swan Song

The world-renowned Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber (紅樓夢) has been the subject rendered in many regional operas of different traditions throughout China. Generations have been moved by the tragic love story between Jia Baoyu (賈寶玉) and Lin Daiyu (林黛玉). When Daiyu learns that Baoyu is betrothed not to her but to his other cousin, she is so broken-hearted that she loses her will to live. On her death bed, she asks her maid to bring out all the poems she has written and burns them, as she sings her swan song and dies.

Eva Cheng

Angela Keung

Precious Lotus Lantern:
The Magical Encounter

The opera Precious Lotus Lantern is based on one of the ancient Chinese myths regarding a beautiful goddess with a powerful Lotus Lantern. The goddess falls in love with a man called Lau Yin-Cheung and bears him a son. As a punishment for her violation of the heavenly laws in crossing the line that separates mortals from immortals, the goddess is pinned beneath the Hua Mountain. It will take years before she is set free by her brave son when he grows up. This song tells the story of the couple’s first encounter on Hua Mountain, where Lau comes across a statute of the goddess in a temple. He writes a poem on the wall to express his admiration, and touches the heart of the goddess. Her maid Ling Chi then becomes their matchmaker, and the couple are joined in happy matrimony.

Ruan De-wen

Angela Keung

Jenny Fok

The Spirit of Jade Pear

This song tells the story of an ill-fated love between He Mengxia and the widow Bai Liniang. He arrives at the family mansion of the Cui family in Wuxi as a tutor to the son of Bai. Without physically meeting one another, He and Bai communicate solely on letters carried back and forth by the student, Bai’s son. Through the exchange of poems, the couple secretly fall in love. However, in feudal times, rumours run wild. So, Bai decides to meet He in person to explain that their mutual love will not bear good fruit. She returns all the letters to He, and begs him to direct his affections to her younger sister-in-law instead. Broken hearted, He leaves immediately to join the army.

Wong Chiu-Kwan

Mable Chow

United to Defeat Cao

This is a duet sung by two male singers. The story is based on a famous historical novel during the Three Kingdom Period (220 to 280). This song describes how the two strategists — Kong Ming of the Chu Kingdom and Zhou Yu of the Wu Kingdom – put their heads together to devise a plan to defeat their common enemy at the historic Battle of the Red Cliff, where the smaller combined army overcomes a much bigger army led by Cao Cao.

Sun Kim-Long

Anthony Cheung

Love Commencing from
A Simple Act of Kindness

This song describes the scene in which a young couple meets and falls in love in a dilapidated temple where they are seeking refuge from the torrential rain. The young maiden is separated from her family as they flee from danger caused by some riots. A brave young man steps forward to protect her. As they are both drenched, he starts a fire and suggests she take off her clothes to dry behind a drape that he puts up to give her some privacy. The maiden is very moved by his good manners and kindness. They fall in love there and then.

Ruan De-Wen

Jennifer Cheung

Xiao He Chases Han Xin in the Moonlight

This is based on the story of Han Xin and Xiao He – two of the “three great heroes of the early Han Dynasty”, who helped Liu Bang of Han during the collapse of the Qin Dynasty (221–207 BC) to defeat Xiang Yu of Chu to re-unify China under the Han Dynasty.

Han Xin has been living in extreme poverty until he works for Xiang Yu, who does not recognize his brilliance as a military strategist. So, he switches over to serve Liu Bang, who also does not recognize his abilities. Disappointed, he quietly leaves the Han camp in a moonlit night. Xiao He who is trusted by Liu hears about it and runs after Han. He successfully persuades Han to return to serve Liu. In gratitude, he agrees to serve Liu with Xiao. His military career takes off as a general, and he is greatly rewarded by Liu after he assumes the throne with Xiao as chancellor. However, Han is demoted later as he loses the trust of Liu. Some believe that Xiao is implicated in the fall of Han, thus giving rise to an idiom that implies the rise and fall of Han is caused by Xiao. This duet tells the story of how Xiao chases Han and persuades him to return.

Liu Kwok-sum

Sheung Ping Fan

Three Years of Love
but Two Decades of Hate

The story is set at a time when China was conquered by the Mongolian troops. The protagonist is the descendant of a Chinese loyalist. To flee from the invaders, he lives in a temple under disguise. Later he meets and falls in love with Wen. It is only after they have become man and wife that he discovers Wen is the daughter of his family’s enemy. As he is living with the Wen household, he feels he is trapped. In this duet, Wen finds out about the complicated history between their two families. She decides to sacrifice her love and set him free.

Ng Chin-Fung

Angela Keung

Lu’an Prefecture

This famous scene is based on the story in a traditional Peking opera, which is set at a time when China was invaded by the Jurchens led by their crown Prince Jin Wuzhu. The protagonist is a general of the Song Dynasty who decides to defend the Lu’an Prefecture in Shanxi Province to its bitter end when all they supplies are cut off by the enemies. This famous theme song describes how General Lu Deng wants to send his wife and baby away with the refugees fleeing from the city under siege. However, his loyal wife does not want to leave. Having arranged for the wet nurse to escape with her baby boy, she pledges her love to her husband and then kills herself so that her husband can focus on his defense without worrying about her safety.

Liang Zhaoming

Wong Chiu-Kwan

The Butterfly Lovers:
Rendezvous on the Terrace

This is one of the most famous songs from this beloved opera The Butterfly Lovers, based on a well-known story of two star-crossed lovers set in ancient times when women were not allowed to go to schools. However, with permission from her parents, Zhu Yingtai is admitted to a college in the disguise as a man. There she has developed a deep relationship with her fellow student Liang Shanbo. For three years, Shanbo has no idea his room-mate is actually a woman, even though Yingtai has dropped many hints. As they each head home on graduation, Shanbo learns Yingtai has a twin sister and promises to seek her hand within three days, as suggested by Yingtai. Unfortunately, due to sickness he shows up at Yingtai’s home late.

This aria describes the rolling coaster scene as Shanbo eventually shows up at the Zhu Residence, and realizes wit great joy that Yingtai’s sister is actually Yingtai herself, but in the next moment he is devastated to learn that Yingtai has been betrothed to another man due to no show earlier. The beautiful musical arrangements and libretto evoke great pathos and many a tear from the audience.

Wang Zhi-Liang

Fannie Ku

The Song That Enchants Marshal Chow

During the Three Kingdom Period (in the early Third Century), China was divided into three competing kingdoms of Wei, Shu and Wu. This famous song is about the story of Marshal Zhou Yu who is the commander-in-chief of Wu. Zhou is not just a military genius but also a great musician with a sharp ear. He is deeply in love with his beautiful wife Qiao the Junior, the younger of the famous twin daughters of a nobleman. Theirs is a marriage made in heaven. However, Zhou has fallen sick after being defeated by another genius who is the mastermind for the rival state Shu. His loving wife tries to cheer him up by inviting him to play his zither to accompany her in song and dance. The lyrics describe the conflicting loyalties: love for country and love for one’s family.

Ng Chin-Fung

Angela Keung

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