Looking for the Lost Purple Hairpin

The Purple Hairpin

Pui Jun-Hin & Vera Ma

This popular opera written by Hong Kong’s famous Cantonese opera playwright and librettist Tong Dik-Seng ( 唐滌生) is based on a classical play called The Story of the Purple Hairpin by the well-known playwright Tang Xianzhu (湯顯祖)of the Ming Dynasty. It depicts the steadfast love between Fok Siu-Yuk(霍小玉), a talented lady well-versed in music and poetry, and Lee Yick(李益), a scholar from a western province whose reputation precedes him. “Looking for the Lost Purple Hairpin”, the first of many well-loved songs in this opera, is about their first encounter brought about because Siu-Yuk’s lost purple hairpin is accidentally found by Lee Yick who has come to the capital to sit the Civil Exam.