Traditional Set Pieces and Excerpts from Formulaic Plays in Cantonese Opera
General Kwan Guards the Huarong Pass
Presented by: Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Produced by: The Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong
Synopsis: This is a play taken from Chapter 50 of the novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, ‘Zhuge Liang Foresees the Huarong Pass Episode, Guan Yu Releases Cao Cao in Reciprocation of a Former Kind Deed’. The operatic presentation is a duo between Guan Yu, a general with the highest sense of morals and righteousness, and Cao Cao of the State of Wei. Through the singing narrative between the two characters, delivered in the varying moods of bangzi in slow, moderate and fast tempi, Cao Cao speaks of a former kind deed he had done to Guan Yu, while Guan relates how he repays Cao Cao by slaying Yan Liang and Wen Chou.
Cao Cao is defeated at Red Cliff. Zhuge Liang sends Zhang Fei and Zhao Zilong to intercept his escape but to no avail, so he sends Guan Yu to station at the Huarong Pass to wait for Cao Cao to pass by. Cao has done Guan a favour before, so when he sees Guan Yu guarding the Huarong Pass, he thinks he has seen through Zhuge Liang’s plot and bursts out laughing. He believes that he has every hope to escape unscathed. Cao asks Guan to let him go, beseeching until he goes down on his knees to beg in tears. Guan, who always puts righteousness first, is in dilemma. Finally resolving that ‘an upright man would leave his name in history for his true adherence to righteousness’, he decides to let Cao go by setting up a snake formation (a military setting). Cao is finally able to flee. The situation evolves into the establishment of the three kingdoms. Actually, the happenings are all within Zhuge’s plan: he purposely lets Guan return the favour to Cao so that from now on, he owes Cao nothing.
Series: Traditional Set Pieces and Excerpts from Formulaic Plays in Cantonese Opera
Scheme/ Festival: Click for Arts
Art Form: Xiqu
Artistic Director: Law Ka-ying
Cast: Law Ka-ying, Chan Hung-chun, Kwong Tsz-wong, Vong Seng-pan