My Life Ruined Just for Love

Vera Ma

“My Life Ruined Just for Love” is an aria from an opera And He Returns Home in Glory as a High Official. The story tells about Scholar Yu(茹鳳聲)who has fallen in love with a famous sing-song girl called Glorious Flower (花艷紅). He promises to marry her when he returns from the Civil Exam in glory. However, his step-mother objects when she finds out the background of the girl. Glorious Flower is broken-hearted, thinking that he no longer loves her and in despair turns to a temple to become a nun. This aria is sung in the temple just before she is going to have her hair shaved to become a nun. The composer and librettist Yip Siu-Tak (葉紹德) skilfully chooses to start with “The Pear Blossoms Endure Wind and Rain, a song written by Wong Yue-Sang to narrate the sorrowful upbringing of the Glorious Flower. The lyrics are beautiful and moving, and the musical quality evokes the depth of the emotions conveyed by the poetic lyrics.
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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