Action-packed Chinese opera

Actor Lou Sheng (left) in one of the opera excerpts.
Actor Lou Sheng (above) in one of the opera excerpts.PHOTO: KRETA AYER PEOPLE'S THEATRE FOUNDATION

Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe will put on a full-length opera and 13 excerpts at Kreta Ayer People's Theatre next weekend

Chinese opera fans will be treated to action-packed performances by Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe at Kreta Ayer People's Theatre next weekend.

The 52-member provincial troupe played to full houses at Esplanade Theatre over two nights when it last performed here in 2013.

It is back to thrill with one full-length opera and 13 opera excepts in its four performances from July 3 to 5, including a Sunday matinee.

The troupe is staging full-length opera Romance Of Lu Bu And Diao Chan on the second night, which includes an action-packed excerpt, Lu Bu Test-Rides The Steed. Lu Bu is played by the troupe's star actor, Lou Sheng. He will also thrill with heart-stopping stunts such as executing somersaults in full armour gear and performing swift "face-changing" feats in the other excerpts, such as Meeting By The River and Zi Du's Death By Fire.

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    Where: Kreta Ayer People's Theatre, 30A Kreta Ayer Road

    When: July 3, 4 & 5 at 7.45pm; matinee on July 5 at 2pm

    Admission: $20, $25, $30, $38 & $50 via or the theatre box office from noon to 5pm daily

    Info: Call 6222-3972 (10am - 5pm) or e-mail:

The other excerpts include On Broken Bridge, from the opera classic, Madam White Snake, on the opening night.

The troupe's two leading actresses, Yang Xiayun and Wu Wenling, play the roles of the White Snake and Green Snake respectively, and impress as their body movements imitate the slithering of the reptiles.

Yang will also star as the leading lady in another excerpt, Rumpus At The Palace, from another famous opera, Taming Of The Princess, on the same evening.

Other action-packed performances include Ruckus The Dragon Palace from the well-known action opera, The Monkey King.

Wu opera has a 400-year-old history and originates from Wuzhou, the present-day city of Jinhua in Zhejiang province, where the troupe is from. It is known for its elaborate costumes and sets, intriguing storylines and well-choreographed stage movements.

By incorporating its forte in martial arts into the operas, Wu opera also distinguishes itself from other opera genres by giving even civil roles a martial arts spin, as shown in the opera, Romance Of Lu Bu And Diao Chan, and the excerpt from Madam White Snake.

Kreta Ayer People's Theatre's secretary Alice Ho says the troupe last performed there in 2012 for two nights, to sold-out audiences.

Ms Ho reveals that Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe's performances will be the second major show staged at the theatre since it was upgraded at a cost of $1.5 million.

The first was the Cantonese musical, Fung Bo Bo Memories And Chinatown, which starred the former Hong Kong child star and played to full houses on June 19 and 20.

Ms Ho says: "With a new sound and lighting system, the theatre has been transformed and opera audiences will be able to enjoy the performances in greater comfort."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2015, with the headline 'Action-packed Chinese opera'. Print Edition | Subscribe