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News Highlights

Cast of stars presents Cantonese opera treasures for Shanghai Expo (with photos)

A star-studded presentation of Cantonese opera, featuring over 100 acclaimed performers and exciting new talent, opened for Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo) this evening (August 19).

"Hong Kong Cantonese Opera Treasures", staged by the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong (CAAHK), promotes the distinctive culture and classic works of the Cantonese opera repertoire.

The event is a highlight of the HKSAR cultural programme for Shanghai Expo.

This evening's opening night performance featured the famous set piece "The Imperial Emperor of Heaven Holding Court" showcasing the Association's full cast as well as the strength and resources of Cantonese opera traditions. The second piece this evening was the classic work "Luk Long Reprimands His Son", with distinctive singing styles in authentic classical dialect.

Tonight's performance was well received with a full house attendance at the Academy Theatre of the Shanghai Theatre Academy. Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, was among the audience.

Tomorrow evening's performance will feature another Cantonese opera classic, "Towering Legends of the Three Kingdoms".

The Chairperson of the CAAHK, Ms Liza Wang, said the classics selected for "Hong Kong Cantonese Opera Treasures"represented the most traditional characteristics of Cantonese opera.

"Our artists and crew members come from diverse backgrounds. They have different levels of experience but all of them are talented and devoted," Ms Wang said.

"It is a pleasure to have this opportunity to demonstrate our very best to Shanghai people and to audiences from around the world."

The Vice-Chairman of the CAAHK, Mr Yuen Siu-fai, said: "We retain the originality of the plays in the performances to promote the tradition of Cantonese opera.

"The large-scale presentation of 'The Imperial Emperor of Heaven Holding Court' showcases the grandeur and complexity of Cantonese opera. It is rarely performed these days.

"The revival of the play is a tribute to past generations of artists and provides guidance for the next generation.

"Preparing for this show is by no means easy as it involves so many people. However, the sweat and tears are all worthwhile in the end because it introduces Cantonese opera to a wider audience on the Expo stage.”

Renowned artists Mr Yau Sing-po, Mr Yuen Siu-fai, Mr Sun Kim-long and Ms Chan Wing-yee were among the performers of "The Imperial Emperor of Heaven Holding Court".

In another set piece, "Luk Long Reprimands His Son", Mr Yau Sing-po, Mr Law Kar-ying and Mr Lui Hung-kwong demonstrated quintessential Lingnan culture by singing in classical dialects.

The regular repertoire, "Towering Legends of the Three Kingdoms", to be presented tomorrow evening will feature the well-known stories of the Three Kingdoms. Ms Liza Wang will play the legendary beauty Diao Chan, while Mr Yau Sing-po and Mr Law Kar-ying will play Cao Cao and Guan Yu respectively.

During the Expo period, 60 events and activities involving some 100 performances and four visual arts exhibitions are being staged by Hong Kong in Shanghai. They showcase the city's rich culture, modernity and connectivity to the Mainland and to the world.

Performances in September include "The Liaisons" by the Hong Kong Arts Festival and Fredric Mao Theatre Project from September 3 to 5; "Bank of Communications brings to you: Hong Kong Phil in Beethoven 9" by Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra on September 4; and "The Will to Build (Revival Version)" by Theatre du Pif on September 24 and 25. "The Will to Build (Revival Version)" is also the opening programme for Hong Kong Cultural Week of the 12th China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

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