Cantonese Opera Draws Youth

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Arts & Culture

Act of swinging pony tails by Sung Hung Bor & Ko Lai
Act of swinging pony tails by Sung Hung Bor & Ko Lai

For two weeks recently, thousands of opera fans around Ipoh and some, all the way from Kuala Lumpur have been thronging the Guan Di Temple, located along the Batu Gajah main road just to catch a glimpse of the performances led by renowned  Hong Kong opera performers, Sung Hung Bor and Ko Lai. As part of the temple’s annual celebration, the opera performances were staged for 20 consecutive nights, from July 30 till August 18 this year.

Sung Hung Bor & Ko Lai
Sung Hung Bor & Ko Lai

Guan Di Temple in Batu Gajah with its history of more than 100 years is one of the very few temples in Malaysia that still provides the venue for opera performance for such a lengthy duration. All visitors were welcomed with free seating on a first come, first served basis.

This time around, Ching Yin Cantonese Opera’s troupe leader, Peggy Choy has once again invited Sung Hung Bor and Ko Lai  taking up the role of  male lead “shen” and female lead “dan” after a successful performance by the duo last year. To the delight of all local fans, this year, Peggy Choy  also invited top Hong Kong Cantonese opera performers, Chan Hung Chun and up and coming star Alan Tam, taking up the role of comedic “chao shen” and second male lead, respectively.

Peggy Choy, Chan Hung Chun, Sung Hung Bor & Ko Lai
Peggy Choy, Chan Hung Chun, Sung Hung Bor & Ko Lai

In line with requests from the audience, the troupe has been staging plays mainly from the “Mou” or martial  arts genre which requires the lead “Shen” and “Dan” taking up the roles of generals or warriors.

An interesting phenomenon for this year’s performance is that the local audience has been very supportive by posting almost instantly, photos taken during the performance onto Sung Hung Bor’s Facebook page, thus allowing his fans in Hong Kong and other parts of the world to enjoy and share the excitement as well.

Peggy Choy as the second female lead
Peggy Choy as the second female lead

The performance by the Ching Yin Cantonese Opera troupe this year has attracted a young audience in rather large numbers, which is a rare occurrence indeed. It is hoped that more efforts can be made to promote Cantonese Opera to the younger generation.

Young & talented Alan Tam
Young & talented Alan Tam

 

When the curtain falls, signalling the end of another excellent performance
When the curtain falls, signalling the end of another excellent performance

 

Those interested in Cantonese opera may call: Lee Choe Leong 012-500 6479.

Lee Choe Leong