Cantonese Opera - Dream of The Red Chamber [Cat. 1 Tickets]

20 Jun 2014 (Fri) 7:30PM @ Drama Centre

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The opera is based on the most controversial but most influential Chinese novel “Dream of the Red Chamber” (Hong Lo Meng) in the history of Chinese literature. This 120 chapter novel, originally known as “The Story of The Stone” assumed its present name upon publication in 1791 during the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644 – 1911). The first 80 chapters is generally believed to have been written by the famous scholar Tsao Xue Jin (actual date of birth not known) who died at the age in the mid-forties in 1764) while the remaining 40 chapters are said to have been written by another scholar Gao Er (AD 1738 – 1815). The novel narrates the rise and fall of two aristocratic families. It was so well written that the novel has become the subject of research and debate revolving on its authorship and contents among the literary elites within and without China for decades, especially since 1921 which led to the establishment of a school of learning now known as “Hong Xue” meaning “Research on Hong Lo Meng”.

This Cantonese Opera’s theme centres on the three corner romance between Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu and Xue Baocai which ended in a tragedy with the death of Lin Daiyu and Jia Baoyu becoming a monk. It is a well known tale in the Chinese Opera circle and is presented on stage by almost every Chinese Opera genre, the most famous of course is the Shanghai Yue Opera.

For Cantonese Opera, “Dream Of The Red Chamber” was made popular in Hong Kong in the 1940s and 1950s by the maestro the late Mr Ho Fei Fan whose singing of the theme song in the finale has mesmerized Cantonese Opera fans for several decades. However, since the 1970s, this opera is rarely presented on stage, the reason being lack of a good script. Another reason is the finale in Ho Fei Fan’s script is weak and his popularity has gone into oblivion.

CTC’s script is written by its resident playwright Leslie Wong. Based on several Hong Kong scripts, Leslie Wong has rewritten the finale and made appropriate modifications to the traditional script to make the opera relevant in our modern society. For example, he has condensed the complexities of the story into eight scenes with new songs and music.

For outreach purposes, Leslie Wong will be conducting a workshop at the Kreta Ayer Community Club on 18 May 2014 to introduce the opera and Chinese novel to the public. The objectives are fivefold:- firstly, to stimulate the curiosity of the literary elites through analysis of his research findings on the authorship and contents of the famous novel; secondly, to explain to the public how he went about to rewrite the opera; thirdly, to tell the audience the niceties to look out for in the opera; fourthly, to attract and influence the public, especially the young, to cultivate and develop interests in Chinese literature and the arts; and fifthly, to serve as an example for Chinese Opera practitioners to emulate.

Besides, Leslie Wong will also hold a pre-performance talk to familiarize the audience with the innovations and niceties of the opera to enhance appreciation of the production.

For this opera, Joanna Wong, CTC’s Artistic Director, will let See Too Hoi Siang, CTC’s lead actress, to direct the opera while she herself will be the Stage Manager. Joanna Wong’s objective is to nurture and groom See Too Hoi Siang to be an opera director as well. For this opera, See Too needs to choreograph a dance in the finale as well. This is part of CTC’s succession plan.

The opera has a big cast. The supporting cast includes CTC’s upcoming artists Lo Siu Ling, Chan Suk Wah, Eunice Mak, Ellen Li, May Ho, Raymond Chow, Tony Kim, Tan Liang Heng, Lee Weng Wah, Tay Su Lan, John Soh, students currently attending opera classes conducted by See Too Hoi Siang at Kreta Ayer Community Club, and artists from the Kreta Ayer Community Club Cantonese Opera Group whom CTC will collaborate with for this production.

Chinese and English subtitles will be used to accompany the performance to help the audience understand and appreciate the opera.

Fri Jun 20, 2014
7:30 PM - 11:00 PM SGT
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Cat 1 Standard (incl. handling fee) SOLD OUT $52.00
Cat 1 Senior Citizen/Student (incl. handling fee) SOLD OUT $42.00
Venue Address
100 Victoria Street,
National Library Building Level 3,
Singapore 188064 Singapore
Drama Centre Theatre is on the 3rd Level of the National Library, and is accessible by the Lifts or Escalators
Chinese Theatre Circle