Weeping Over a Poem Written at Night From the opera Phoenix Hairpin

Singer:
Angela Keung

This is an aria from a full opera built upon the well-known love story of the famous poet Luk Yau (Lu You 陸游; 1125–1209) of the Song dynasty when it was being evaded by foreign tribes in the North.

Luk Yau grew up with his cousin Tong Yuen (Tang Wan唐琬), who was quiet but loved literature. They fell deeply in love and were happily married when he was 20. They had no children, so his mother forced them to divorce so that Luk will concentrate on studying to fulfill his aspiration of saving the Song dynasty. Tong tries to drown herself but is saved by a nobleman who later marries her while Luk has married a woman called Chun Ngor.

Eight years after their divorce, Luk passes by the Shen Garden (沈園) one spring day and by chance encounters Tong and her husband. When he sees the regrets and love in her eyes, he writes a poem on the wall before leaving to defend his country in the North. That is the famous Phoenix Hairpin poem (Chai Tou Feng, 釵頭鳳), which makes Shen Garden famous.

When Tong finds Luks poem in the garden, she immediately writes one in the same form in response. She passes away eight years later. Luk lives to an old age still deeply in love with Tong. At age 85, he writes another poem called “Shen's Garden Revisited” to commemorate Tong. This song depicts Tong’s sorrows on reading a poem by Luk.
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.

Weeping Over a Poem Written at Night

From the Opera Phoenix Hairpin

This is an aria from a full opera built upon the well-known love story of the famous poet Luk Yau (Lu You 陸游; 1125–1209) of the Song dynasty when it was being evaded by foreign tribes in the North.

Luk Yau grew up with his cousin Tong Yuen (Tang Wan唐琬), who was quiet but loved literature. They fell deeply in love and were happily married when he was 20. They had no children, so his mother forced them to divorce so that Luk will concentrate on studying to fulfill his aspiration of saving the Song dynasty. Tong tries to drown herself but is saved by a nobleman who later marries her while Luk has married a woman called Chun Ngor.

Eight years after their divorce, Luk passes by the Shen Garden (沈園) one spring day and by chance encounters Tong and her husband. When he sees the regrets and love in her eyes, he writes a poem on the wall before leaving to defend his country in the North. That is the famous Phoenix Hairpin poem (Chai Tou Feng, 釵頭鳳), which makes Shen Garden famous.

When Tong finds Luks poem in the garden, she immediately writes one in the same form in response. She passes away eight years later. Luk lives to an old age still deeply in love with Tong. At age 85, he writes another poem called “Shen’s Garden Revisited” to commemorate Tong.
This song depicts Tong’s sorrows on reading a poem by Luk.

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