Emperor Qianlong and Fragrant Concubine, Hong Kong Dance Company Cultural Centre, Grand Theatre Ends today Yang Mei, the company's assistant artistic director, deserves praise for choreographing an original work full of theatrical moments enhanced by lavish costumes, atmospheric lighting effects and an excellent score by Jia Guoping. Yang emphasises the inner feelings of the three leading characters in this historical tale - Emperor Qianlong who finds the woman of his dreams in Guli, the Fragrant Concubine, whose lover Adili desperately pursues her to the Imperial Palace. Their complicated relationships are well evoked in the duets. In the two duets for Guli and Qianlong, at the end of Act 1 and in the beginning of Act 2, there pervades a sense of alienation. Guli's unrequited love for Qianlong is symbolised by her avoidance of any physical contact with him. Their lack of intimacy is enhanced by a scarf constantly separating them in the first duet. The more passionate duet for Guli and her lover Adili in Act 2 takes place in a dream world and is interrupted by Qianlong's appearance. Both acts end theatrically with an exciting climax. The first act ends with Adili's dramatic capture by the Imperial Guards, and the last act ends with Qianlong grieving alone on stage for his dearly departed lover, while a shower of flower petals fall on him. Framing the duets are some colourful ethnic Xinjiang dances and some powerful and lively ensemble dances for the soldiers, court musicians and eunuchs. The leading roles were well danced. As the Emperor Qianlong, Yang Yuntao danced strongly. He had charisma and stature and his acting was nuanced and moving. Yang Yizi's portrayal of the Fragrant Concubine was quite convincing. Wu Kwan impressed as her lover Adili.