Beijing opera debuts at Xiqu

Local | Charlotte Luo 11 Mar 2019

Mainland operas will take center stage at Xiqu Centre from Thursday to Sunday, the first time since its January opening.

In Beijing yesterday, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority chairman Henry Tang Ying-yen said the first show, a Peking opera excerpt, had sold out.

Another three shows are also close to selling out, while bookings for venues inside the center are full until November.

A total of 27 award-winning artists and masters of eight different xiqu genres - Peking opera, Kunqu, Yueju, Pingju, Ouju, Yuju, Gannan tea-picking opera and Cantonese opera - will present four performances highlighting the distinctive features of these regional forms.

The performances will be held at the Grand Theatre in the Xiqu Centre.

A Master Selection of Peking Opera Excerpts is scheduled to take place at 7.30pm on Thursday, while the Kunqu Excerpts show will be held at 7.30pm on Friday.

Mixed Xiqu Excerpts is on Saturday at 7.30pm and Cantonese Opera Excerpts on Sunday at 7.30pm.

The operas will be performed in regional languages with Chinese and English subtitles.

Tickets for shows being held between Friday and Sunday are on sale for HK$450, HK$380, HK$280 and HK$180.

The 27 artists and masters all won the Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre and are part of the Plum Blossom Award Art Troupe.

Founded in 1983, the award is the first arts award in China to recognize outstanding theater performers and encourage the development of traditional theater.

The troupe was established in 2005 by the China Theatre Association to help promote performing arts at home and abroad.

The troupe has traveled and performed all over the world over the past 28 years, including in Hong Kong for the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre program in 2014.

The Xiqu Centre opened on January 20, and the opening act was the Reincarnation of Red Plum curated by Pak Suet-sin.

However, some local troupes have complained the rent for the venue is too high.

Tang said yesterday that it is necessary to strike a balance between the need for the troupes and the use of the public funds.

Opera troupes are given priority to book the venue, he said.

The fee is the lowest in the three-level system, with the daily rent HK$22,000.

He said whether the price is reasonable or not depends on the views of different people.

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