Embroidering the Fragrant Sachet

From the opera June Snow

Sun Kim-Long & Wong Chiu-Kwan

The well-known tragic folk tale of Dau-Ngor ( 竇娥) was made famous by a Yuan Dynasty play in the 13th century China and has inspired generations of regional opera in China. When the renowned Tong Dik-Seng ( 唐滌生) re-adapted this story for a Cantonese opera with Yam Kim-Fai and Fong Yim-Feng playing the male and female leads in the 1950s, he gave more depth to the characters and heightened the subplot of romantic love. This love song, placed near the opening of the opera when the new bride presents her husband with a satchel on which she has embroidered ten messages of love, is indicative of the lyrical and romantic power in this opera.
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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