Cantonese Opera Treasures
今年香港藝術節的開幕演出，是由八和會館悉心安排下，三十多位粵劇名伶一同演出多年未見的例戲。廣東戲的祖先是湖北漢劇，所以最早期的傳統戲，全部不是以廣東話演出，而是以中州音，即中原音韻，或我們俗稱以 ‘戲台官話’ 演出。港台電視部錄影了藝術節當晚的表演，並由阮兆輝及羅家英為觀眾作出介紹。
This year’s Hong Kong Art Festival is opened with Cantonese Opera Treasures, an evening of rarely performed Set Pieces that fascinate audiences. Radio Television Hong Kong has made recording of these performances and present them to television viewers.
Renowned Cantonese Opera artists YuenSiu-fai and Law Kar-ying will be our presenters and lead us into the treasure trove.
In the early years, Cantonese operas troupes performed in celebrations of major festivals and religious occasions. The custom was for the troupe to perform special Set Pieces to open a new engagement. The Set Pieces performed for the first day included: The Imperial Emperor of Heaven Holding Court, The Eight Immortals Bestowing Longevity, Blessing by the God of Fortune and A Fairy Delivers Her Son to the Mortal Father. Following tradition, a regular repertoire work will be performed after the traditional Set Pieces. The regular repertoire for Art Festival Opening performance is Luk-long Reprimands His Son.
The set Pieces have retained the original form of music, singing and performance routine used in early Cantonese operas. Most of the Set Pieces are large- scale presentation, they feature the full cast and all characters have their own special routines. This is a special way for the troupe to show off their strength.
At one point, the music and action of The Imperial Emperor of Heaven Holding Court was thought to have been lost. In 1998, Yuen Siu-fai, Sun Kim-long and others decided to resurrect The Imperial Emperor of Heaven Holding Court. They traveled to Guangdong and Malaysia to interview senior artists and collect information. With the help of senior artists Sun-Kam Shang-Ching and Yau Sing-po, they reconstructed this important Cantonese opera Set Piece eleven years ago.
Blessing by the God of Fortune is performed by Law Kar-ying. The characteristic of this piece is its use of a mask, which the performer wears while dancing on stage. Even though masks are used in Chinese operas, Blessing by the God of Fortune is the only piece in Cantonese Opera where a mask is used.
This is a rare occasion where this large scale Set Pieces is performed. Even if you are not a Cantonese opera lover, this is an evening not to be missed.