Love in the Bamboo Grove is a beautiful new venture into Cantonese opera by the esteemed local playwright and screenwriter Raymond To Kwok-wai. To has previously received a string of awards and nominations from the Hong Kong Film Awards and Golden Horse Awards, and most recently the Hong Kong Screenwriters’ Guild. Set in the late Wei and early Jin dynasties (circa 3rd century CE), this new full-length, two-act work is centred around the descendants of the Seven Sages, a group of literati disenchanted with palace intrigue who retreat from society in pursuit of a hedonistic life. Their stories have been passed down through generations and they remain culturally significant figures to this day.
As the main characters, Xiang Chong and Ji Dan, proclaim their undying love for each other, they vow to retrieve a precious musical instrument belonging to Ji’s late father who was killed by the father of the usurper emperor. With the aid of true-blue friends, they have to run the gauntlet in a bid to retrieve from the emperor, who lusts after Ji, the musical instrument locked away in the treacherous royal residence. Their patriotic ideals prove unfaltering and their love all the more resolute in the face of great personal peril. Different forms of love are explored in this emotionally charged and action-packed production with a dazzling cast of both seasoned and emerging artists. The virtuoso Sun Kim-long directs and stars as the salacious emperor. Lam Tin-yau and Cheng Nga-ki, among the most notable new-generation Cantonese opera artists, appear in the leading roles.
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