Chinese opera singer Tang Yuen-ha is a woman with a mission - to establish the genre on an equal basis with other arts in the SAR. She hopes her recent appointment to the Hong Kong Arts Development Council's Xiqu/Traditional Performances Committee will help her in encouraging the Government to give Chinese opera as much support as ballet or Western opera receive. Ms Tang lives with her husband, renowned Chinese opera composer and musician Yeung Lau-chaing, in Pokfulam. What is on your mind? The need for Chinese opera - or xiqu as I prefer to call it - to be developed in Hong Kong. In the past, ballet companies or orchestras were established by the Government - now Chinese opera should get state support. When people talk of xiqu, they think about how to preserve it, but for me the important thing is how to develop it, to achieve its full potential. Before on the mainland the situation was very good, but during this period of economic change, art has taken a back seat. However, Hong Kong has stability. Before it was known as a desert of culture - now it is a centre for Western and Chinese arts and it should strive for even more. How did you learn the art? When I was a child I grew up in a very musical family. My sister later became a ballet dancer in London and I went to a Swiss music college in Geneva. But I loved xiqu the most. It is total theatre, incorporating music, dancing and martial arts in a way that is unique in the world. I am now a specialist in Beijing and Kun opera and learned under many masters but primarily Dr Yu Zhen-fei in Shanghai when I was in my 20s. How did you meet your husband? He first saw me perform in Tianjin in 1988 and the next year we started working together. It was not his fame that interested me, but his talent as an artist that first drew me to him. He composed for me and as we fell in love he started to send me great poems. Nowadays not many people can write this classical Chinese poetry, but his calligraphy was very good. It was all very romantic. We married quietly in Jinan in Shandong province as he could not come to Hong Kong then. We are very happy - even though he now writes me fewer poems than before!