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The Unexpected Rendezvous
This opera is based on a Hong Kong script slightly modified by Leslie Wong, CTC’s playwright. It is directed by Joanna Wong, CTC’s Artistic Director. The production is an collaborative effort between CTC and the Kreta Ayer Community Club Cantonese Opera Group.
The opera is set in the Ming Dynasty in China (AD 1368 – 1644). It centres on the romance between the son Yi Hong Ji and daughter Yim Yu Ying of two enemy families. Yi is a poor scholar while Yim is the daughter of the Prime Minister. Enmity brewed between the two families following the Prime Minister’s father Yim Xiong purging the Yi family over a fabricated case resulting in Hong Ji’s father being killed and the Yi family devastated.
It so happens that Yi Hong Ji, on his way to sit the Imperial Examination, meets Yim Yu Ying in a temple. Yu Ying is impressed by Yi’s mien, but she does not disclose her identity. To comply with traditional practice, Yi Hong Ji calls on the Prime Minister’s residence to pay his respect. Realising that the visitor is a descendant of his enemy family, the Prime Minister Yim Si Fan, plots to kill him by extending him hospitality but assigning an assassin to kill him in the middle of the night. Yim Yu Ying comes to know of her father’s intention and pleads with the assassin to spare Yi Hong Ji.
Shortly after Yi left Yim, the Emperor hands down an Imperial decree to persecute the Yim household for the crime perpetrated by the Prime Minister’s father. Yu Ying’s maid disguised herself as Yu Ying so that Yu Ying could escape the dragnet.
After a series of misfortunes, Yi Hong Ji is finally reunited with Yim Yu Ying when he excels as the top scholar in the Imperial Examination and is appointed to high office by the Emperor. Since Yim Si Fan is not responsible for the wicked deeds carried out by his father in the previous generation, Yi Hong Ji decides that animosity between the two families should cease. Yi Hong Ji and Yim Yu Ying tie the nuptial knot and live happily ever after.
Leading the cast will be Chan Mei Yin of Kreta Ayer CC as lead actor assuming the role of Yi Hong Ji, and Chan Mei Leng of CTC as lead actress taking on the role of Yim Yu Ying. This pair of sisters have been nurtured and groomed by Joanna Wong for at least ten years to take centrestage. This is the first time they do so in a full length opera. Assisting them are Ian Kwok of CTC and Fan Lai May of Kreta Ayer both of whom are also being nurtured and groomed by Joanna Wong to take centrestage later on.
The objectives of CTC are firstly to feature new talents; secondly, to make Cantonese Opera relevant in our modern society; thirdly to set an example for other groups to emulate; fourthly, to secure a wider outreach by working with other grassroots organizations; fifthly, to present quality Chinese Opera performances for the public. Subtitles in both Chinese and English will be used to help the audience, comprising people from all walks of life, to understand and appreciate the opera.
This event is presented in Cantonese.