HK Magazine Archive

A Night at the Cantonese Opera: Shows to See

So, you're convinced you want to watch some opera?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 August, 2015, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 4:48pm

Where to Go

Ko Shan Theatre

Located at the top of Ko Shan Road Park, this theatre was originally designed as a 3,000-seat semi-open air theatre, but was renovated in 1994 to be a fully indoor venue with over 1,000 seats. There’s also a new wing with a smaller auditorium. Ko Shan Road Park is decorated with stone engravings of opera-related art, such as painted faces.
77 Ko Shan Rd., Hung Hom, 2740-9222.

Sha Tin Town Hall

This venue hosts all sorts of performances and exhibitions year-round. It is partnered with the Cantonese Opera Advancement Association, which brings in nearly 20 opera troupes to perform in its multiple halls and facilities. Studios and rooms are also available for public use.
1 Yuen Wo Rd., Sha Tin, 2694-2509.

Sunbeam Theatre

“Hong Kong’s Grand Palace for Cantonese  Opera” was opened by Shanghainese emigrants in 1972. Cantonese operas are performed at this venue almost every day, and films and other performances also are shown from time to time.
423 King’s Rd., North Point, 2856-0158.

Yau Ma Tei Theatre

This Grade II historic building is the last remaining pre-war theater in Hong Kong. Once the largest in Kowloon, Yau Ma Tei Theatre completed its renovation into a 300-seat Cantonese opera venue in 2012. It is partnered with the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong, which works to preserve and celebrate Cantonese opera.
6 Waterloo Rd., Yau Ma Tei, 2264-8108.

What to Watch

A Showcase of Role Types in Cantonese Opera: Xusheng, Laodan, Hualian

An effort to promote Cantonese Opera and educate audiences to appreciate the art form, this showcase includes four plays that feature unlikely candidates as protagonists: the bearded old man (xusheng), aged women (laodan) and characters with painted faces (hualian).
Sep 6-9, 7:30pm. Auditorium, Ko Shan Theatre New Wing, 77 Ko Shan Rd., Hung Hom. $100-220 from

Chivalry and Valiance in Chinese Opera Series: Beauty in Disguise

A strong, independent woman seeking revenge for her father’s death ends up finding love instead.
Oct 4, 7:30pm. Auditorium, Tsuen Wan Town Hall, 72 Tai Ho Rd., Tsuen Wan. $100-260 from

The Tragedy of the Butterfly Lovers

Dubbed China’s take on “Romeo and Juliet,” This is a famous tragedy of star-crossed lovers who struggle to recognize each other’s affection, only to be reunited in death.
Oct 18, 7:30pm. Auditorium, Tuen Mun Town Hall, 3 Tuen Hi Rd., Tuen Mun. $100-240 from

Princess Changping—Cantonese Opera Young Talent Showcase

The tragedy of the death of Princess Changping and her fiancé on their wedding night, who fall alongside the once great Ming Dynasty. Features one of the best-known numbers in Cantonese Opera—“Fragrant Sacrifice.”
Oct 3-4, 7:30pm. Yau Ma Tei Theatre, 6 Waterloo Rd., Yau Ma Tei. $70-120 from

The Magnificently Cloaked General Saves His Country

A tale of reconciliation between two warriors, Huaiyu and Yuchi, as they go from zero to hero and stand together to defend their country.
Oct 12, 7:30pm. Theatre, Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre, 11 Clear Water Bay Rd,. $100-180 from

The Veteran: Sun Kim-long

The Playwright: Man Wah

The New Blood: Yuen Tak-man

The Teacher: Stella Ma

Behind the Scenes