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Star-studded cast re-interpret Cantonese opera love story for Shanghai Expo (with photos)

Fredric Mao Theatre Project and the Hong Kong Arts Festival will present a cross-boundary music theatre production "The Liaisons" as a highlight of the HKSAR cultural programme for Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo).

Inspired by Tong Tik-sang's famous Cantonese opera classic "The Legend of the Purple Hairpin", "The Liaisons" received critical acclaim at its premiere at the Hong Kong Arts Festival in March 2010.

The Shanghai Expo performances will be staged at the Academy Theatre of the Shanghai Theatre Academy from September 3 to 5.

Presented in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles, "The Liaisons" is directed by Director Laureate Mr Fredric Mao with a high calibre artistic crew comprising award-winning playwrights Mr Felix Chong and Mr Alan Mak ("Infernal Affairs"), composer Mr Leon Ko, Oscar-winning designer Mr Tim Yip ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") and renowned actors Mr Tse Kwan-ho, Ms Josie Ho, Mr Lam Kam-tong and Ms Amy Wu.

"The Liaisons" is a modern star-crossed love story that explores contemporary views about love through drama, storytelling, music and song.

"We live in an age of consumerism where everything is counted on the concept of trade. We look for mutual benefits in all aspects, including love and relationships. In our production, devotion and dedication as expressed in 'The Legend of the Purple Hairpin' will be re-interpreted and analysed in the modern context," Mr Mao said.

"In search of perfect love, our modern heroine becomes inspired by her counterpart in the legend, Fok Siu-yuk, who selflessly followed a difficult path for her lover Lee Yik. Unfortunately, in the contemporary version, the modern man cannot resist the temptations of money and power and has an affair with another woman."

Mr Mao is confident that the Shanghai audience will be impressed by the high quality of the performance.

"Language will not be a barrier for the Shanghai audience. I have staged four productions in Shanghai before. My latest production, 'Love in a Fallen City', an adaptation of Eileen Chang's famous novel, was also presented in Cantonese and it turned out to be a resounding success," he said.

Mr Mao added that he applied the concept of Total Theatre to "The Liaisons".

"The language, songs, music, settings, costumes and lighting of the production are all important artistic elements. The star-studded production cast and the creative team complement each other to achieve the best result of Total Theatre," Mr Mao said.

"The whole performance uses modern songs and Western music as well as music from Cantonese opera to display the uniqueness of Hong Kong theatre."

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

"The Liaisons"
Date: September 3 to 5, 2010
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Academy Theatre, Shanghai Theatre Academy
Length: Approx 2 hours 15 minutes
Ticket price: RMB380, 280, 200, 150, 100
Booking hotline: Shanghai East Ticket (86 21) 962388
Online booking: www.ticket2010.com
Programme enquiries:
(Hong Kong Arts Festival) (852) 2828 4922
(Shanghai) (86 21) 6190 6163