A Tribute to Cantonese Opera Legend

Sun Ma Sze Tsang

Sun Ma Sze Tsang was already well established as one of the brightest stars in Cantonese opera when he performed at the second and third Hong Kong Arts Festivals in 1974 and 1975. To mark the Festival’s 50th Anniversary, the HKAF celebrates his artistry, fittingly, with the first complete performances since his death in 1997 of four of the operas in which he played his best-loved roles. The stars of a new generation pay their tribute under the artistic direction of Cantonese Opera veteran Sun Kim-long.


A rare opportunity to see four of the great Sun Ma Sze Tsang’s signature Cantonese operas, interpreted in the spirit of the master by Hong Kong’s brightest emerging talent.

Sun Ma Sze Tsang (1916-1997) was one of the brightest stars and greatest innovators in the history of Cantonese opera. An early supporter of the HKAF, Sun Ma Sze Tsang performed at the Festival in 1974 and 1975 with other Cantonese opera stars. It is fitting then that a tribute to him, in the form of full-length performances of four operas in which he played, signature roles should be included in the Festival’s 50th anniversary programme.

Acclaimed as King of Pen and Sword, Sun Ma Sze Tsang was renowned for his versatility in roles ranging from paupers to emperors. A commanding presence on both stage and screen, he appeared in over 300 films and is also remembered for introducing elements of Peking opera to his Cantonese opera performances, broadening the horizons of the art form.

To commemorate the multi-faceted artistry of Sun Ma, a new generation of accomplished artists will perform his four signature operas, including The Golden Bracelet—one of the productions that marked the opening of Hong Kong City Hall in 1962. This is a rare opportunity to see full-length productions of the operas, of which even Sun Ma himself usually performed only excerpts.

Reflecting Sun Ma’s mastery of both Cantonese and Peking opera, The Sword of Loyalty allowed him to express the full scope of his vocal versatility in a tale of intrigue and revenge. The Romantic Emperor highlighted his classical singing style and gift for comedy; he was also inspired to one of his greatest tragic performances by the famous mourning scene in Emperor Guangxu. In The Golden Bracelet, a tale of great hardship that ends in a romantic reunion, he made his mark in the sheng (lead male role) of a young officer.


Each performance lasts approx. 3 hrs 15 mins incl. one interval
With Chinese and English surtitles