Faith, Family, Fealty—Three Cantonese Operas

Chinese folklore is full of moral tales, many of which have been adapted as Cantonese operas. This programme of three stories extols one of the core Chinese values—the duty children owe their parents—but also stresses the importance of wider family ties, patriotism, courage and military valour. With veteran Cantonese opera artist Yuen Siu-fai as artistic advisor, these operas will be performed by up and coming artists.


Chinese folklore comes to life as Cantonese opera.

There is a traditional Chinese saying: “filial piety moves the heavens”.

The HKAF presents three 45-minute Cantonese operas thematically linked by traditional Chinese values. All are drawn from Chinese folklore and extol the virtues of self-sacrifice and the acceptance of duty, whether familial or patriotic.

The three operas were originally written for young performers to study the form, each of which explores an aspect of filial duty fulfilled in exemplary fashion. A son goes out to catch fish for his stepmother in the depths of freezing winter; a daughter takes her father’s place in the army; and a young woman bravely intercedes with the Emperor to save her father’s life.

This programme, featuring the best of emerging young talent in Cantonese opera, is overseen by Artistic Advisor Yuen Siu-fai, a tireless advocate for the art form, and a veteran of many great productions. He can also claim credit for instilling a love and understanding of Cantonese opera and its rich heritage in generations of young people.

Simply staged in the “one table, two chairs” format—a basic bare-stage set design iconic to Chinese opera—these three works are relatively unfamiliar even to Cantonese opera audiences, but provide substantial roles for younger performers; and the folk tales—intended to give moral instruction—offer an insight into traditional Chinese family values.

The productions showcase a number of the traditional roles of Cantonese opera, including the sheng (male role), dan (female role), jing (painted face role), and zhou (clown role). The talented young performers will also demonstrate their acting, singing, recitation and martial arts skills in these productions.


Each performance lasts approx. 1hr 30 mins with no interval
With Chinese and English surtitles