Rendezvous on the Terrace

from the opera Butterfly Lovers

Ng Chin-Feng & Wan Fei-Yin

This is one of the most famous songs from this well-loved 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 (祝英台) is admitted to a college disguised as a man. There she develops a deep relationship with her fellow student Liang Shanbo (梁山伯). For three years, Shanbo has no idea his room-mate is actually a woman, even though Yingtai has dropped many hints. As they each heads home after graduation, Shanbo learns Yingtai has a twin sister and promises to seek her hand within three months, as suggested by Yingtai. Unfortunately, due to his mother’s sickness he shows up at Yingtai’s home too late.

This aria describes the roller 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 while awaiting his own delayed arrival. The beautiful musical arrangements and libretto evoke great pathos and many a tear from the audience.
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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