An acquired taste for some, but a vital part of Hong Kong’s heritage, Chinese opera channels the mystery and charm of this ancient culture. Distinctive falsetto singing, punctuated by gongs, intricate gestures and rich symbolism characterise this popular art form, which has endured into the modern age.
Every summer, the Chinese Opera Festival brings stage performances, film screenings and exhibitions to venues across town (13 Jun – 13 Aug). Combining top-notch talent, striking singing, vibrant costumes and extravagant sets, it’s a kaleidoscopic array of operatic drama, spanning traditional and innovative forms.
There’s an appealing mix of genres, including local Cantonese opera, which has earned a spot on UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It’s known for blending Sino legends, music, singing and drama into a highly evocative style. Even if you don’t understand Cantonese, there’s much to enjoy in this fabulous spectacle.
Highlights include the opening Peking Opera Gala, which unites the country’s two leading troupes with six stunning performances, including A Right Royal Match (13-18 Jun, Hong Kong Cultural Centre). For romantic tales of star-crossed lovers catch the melodic Number One Troupe of the Shanghai Shaoxing Opera Group (3-5 Aug, same venue). Known for daring stunts and elegant singing, Zhejiang Wu Opera Research Centre will stage Mui Guiying and other excerpts (23-24 Jun, Sha Tin Town Hall; 25 Jun, Tuen Mun Town Hall).
13 Jun – 13 Aug, 2017.
Chinese Opera Festival / +852 2268 7325 / cof.gov.hk