Daiyu’s Swan Song

Dream of the Red Chamber

Chung Lai-Yung & Angela Keung

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.
Wong Chiu-Kwan |
  王超群, M.H.

In the mid-1960s, Wong Chiu-Kwan learned the art of acting from Master Tam San-San, who excelled in playing the role of the female lead in Cantonese opera. She studied “cheung hong” from Master Lau Wing-Chuen. In the 1980s she performed throughout South East Asia, and became a leading female artist in Cantonese opera after she returned to Hong Kong in the nineties. She is famous for playing female military roles, especially as the general on bound feet. Over the years she has partnered with many leading male artists, including Man Chi- Sui, Yuen Siu-Fai, Lo Ka-Ying, Ng Chin-Fung, Lung Kwun-Tin, Lee Lung, among others in forming various Cantonese Opera Troupes.

Apart from being famous for her mastery of the art of performing on bound feet, she is also recognized for her contributions in promoting Cantonese opera education and community work. In 2010 she was honoured as The Artist of the Year (Opera) by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, and awarded a certificate by the Home Affairs Bureau; in 2018 she was appointed as the Artistic Director of the Cantonese Opera Rookies’ Performance Series hosted by the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong.

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