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"Cantonese Opera Treasures" showcases unique cultural heritage for Shanghai Expo (with photos)

The Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong will next week present the very best of Cantonese opera for Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo).

Over 100 renowned artists will perform classical works in "Hong Kong Cantonese Opera Treasures" on August 19 and 20 at the Academy Theatre of the Shanghai Theatre Academy.

"Hong Kong Cantonese Opera Treasures" is a HKSAR cultural programme for Shanghai Expo.

Vice-Chairman of the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong, Mr Yuen Siu-fai, said: "The inscription of Cantonese opera onto UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity last year is evidence of the important cultural role played by this art form."

Mr Yuen said Hong Kong is the only place that has preserved original Cantonese opera.

"Cantonese opera is a performing art that covers opera, drama, music and even acrobatics. It is remarkably different from Western performing arts, which often only feature one category.

"We will retain the originality of the plays in 'Hong Kong Cantonese Opera Treasures' to promote the tradition of Cantonese opera."

Cantonese opera classics have been carefully selected for the two Expo performances, which will feature acclaimed artists Mr Yau Sing-po, Ms Liza Wang, Mr Law Kar-ying, Mr Yuen Siu-fai and Mr Sun Kim-long.

On August 19, "The Imperial Emperor of Heaven Holding Court" will be presented by the Association's full cast. Another set piece, "Luk Long Reprimands His Son", chosen from the "18 Grand Classic Pieces" and sung in the classical dialect, will also be performed.

On August 20, a regular repertoire, "Towering Legends of the Three Kingdoms" will reflect the intricate relationships of legendary figures Cao Cao, Guan Yu and Diao Chan.

"After years of influence by other regional operas, Cantonese opera has now developed into its distinct form," Mr Yuen said.

It is also an excellent way for people to learn more about Chinese history and literature, he said.

"While Cantonese opera can help the younger generation to better understand Chinese culture and pass on the legacy, Shanghai Expo provides a grand stage for Cantonese opera to be introduced to the rest of the world," Mr Yuen added.

For full programme details and ticketing information, please visit the Event Calendar section on Hong Kong's Expo website, www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk.

"The Imperial Emperor of Heaven Holding Court" and "Luk Long Reprimands His Son"
Date: August 19, 2010
"Towering Legends of the Three Kingdoms"
Date: August 20, 2010
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Academy Theatre, Shanghai Theatre Academy
Length: Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes
In Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles
Ticket prices: RMB380、280、200、150、100
Online booking: www.ticket2010.com
Booking hotline: (86 21) 962388
Programme enquiries:
Hong Kong Arts Festival (852) 2828 4922
Shanghai (86 21) 6190 6163