The acme of southern Chinese opera: a classic that has stood the test of time
Executive Producer, Director: Chu Chan Wa
Characters and Cast:
Cai Bojie Chu Chan Wa
Zhao Wuniang Tang Mi Ling (Hong Kong)
Niu Sengru Che Tin Hong
Bojie’s Father Chio Heng Wa
Bojie’s Mother Ip Man Ka (Hong Kong)
Niu Huilan Ruan Li
Gui Nanfan Loc Vai Kiong
Reverend Gu Ben Chan Kin Chung
Emperor Ren Zong Tang Va Chio
Qin Qi Un Son Kun
Yun’e Wong Mui Fan
Xichun Wong Sam Ngo
An all-time classic, Tale of the Pipa is highly and widely regarded as the most influential piece of traditional Cantonese opera. Its artistic significance and historical influence remained undiminished throughout the centuries and inspired many contemporary operas. This masterpiece was translated into many languages and was even adapted to theatre by famous Cantonese Opera playwright Tang Disheng.
The plot revolves around Cai Bojie and Zhao Wuniang, a newly wedded couple. Despite repeated failures, Bojie departs once again for Beijing to take the imperial examination. He ranks first and is appointed the Number One Scholar. His accomplishment greatly impresses Prime Minister Niu Sengru, who issues a royal decree to make Bojie marry his daughter. Bojie courteously declines the proposition but to no avail. Meanwhile, a severe drought ravaged Bojie’s hometown and claimed his parent’s lives. Totally destitute, Wuniang has to sell her hair to give her family-in-law a decent burial and sets out for the capital to look for her husband. The star-crossed lovers then overcome many trials and tribulations but are reunited in the end. The opera’s characters personify traditional virtues championing loyalty to one’s country, family and marriage, still important to this day and age.
The Macao General Association of Cantonese Opera was founded in 2004 with the mission to promote Cantonese Opera, an art form inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. This local production of Tale of the Pipa features distinguished performers from Hong Kong and Mainland China, reasserting Macao’s identity as an important centre of Chinese culture.
Performed in Cantonese, with surtitles in Chinese
Duration: approximately 3 hours, including one interval