Esplanade Presents


A Show of Prowess: Peking Opera Excerpts

GuoGuang Opera Company (Taiwan)

21 Jul 2023, Fri, 8pm

2hrs 30mins

(Intermission: 1 x 20mins)

Esplanade Theatre

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A Show of Prowess: Peking Opera Excerpts
Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea
Lu Bu Test His Horse
Seized Alive
Insights to Lü Bu Tests His Horse
Insights to Seized Alive
Combined Trailer

Chinese opera often draws inspiration from classic Chinese literature such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Water Margin. In this showcase, the renowned GuoGuang Opera Company from Taiwan presents three excerpts that not only spotlight Chinese literature classics, but also the skills and techniques of its performers, including martial arts feats and complex footwork.


Lü Bu Tests His Horse

This excerpt from Romance of the Three Kingdoms spotlights Lü Bu, the most skilled general in the Three Kingdoms period (220-280CE). The general has two fatal desires: horses and women. As such, his enemy Dong Zhuo gifted the horse Red Rabbit to Lü Bu, a stead that was more than equal to the general’s own fiery spirit and extraordinary abilities. This particular excerpt shows how Lü Bu subdues the Red Rabbit.


In contrast to the simple plot, the performance itself is a complex one where the protagonist dons heavy armour and complete many challenging martial sequences in time with the music.


Cast: Li Jia-de, Pan Shou-ho


Seized Alive

This excerpt from Water Margin shows how Song Jiang murdered his wife Yan Xijiao and how her ghost returned to seek for her lover, Zhang San. Zhang San appeared to have completely forgotten his secret lover and in the end, he was seized alive by Yan to the netherworld.


This work showcases some of the most difficult techniques in Chinese opera, including the qiao footwork technique which is an imitation of the old ‘three-inch golden lotus’ practice of bound feet, using special shoes not unlike ballet slippers. This technique is almost completely lost in China, but remains highly preserved in Taiwan.


Cast: Lin Ting-yu, Wang Yung-tseng


Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea

A familiar household story that tells the tale of the Eight Immortals who were crossing the sea after attending a banquet. As they were drunk and feeling elated, they were showing off their skills which caused disruptions to the East Sea and created conflicts with other immortals of the sea.


This is an exciting excerpt with the various immortals taking turns to display their talents a dizzying and dazzling piece for audiences to watch!


Main cast: Chang Chia-ling, Tai Li-wu


Admission Age:
6 and above.
Language: Mandarin
Surtitle Language: English, Chinese
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Li Jia-de is one of the most exceptional young wusheng performers. His stage presence is composed and robust, his movements elegant and precise, his stance powerful and inviting. Lee has very strong technique, displaying flair in both singing and text recitation. In Lü Bu Tests His Horse, his performance from where he mounts the horse to when he finally tames the Red Rabbit was stellar. He gracefully and steadily navigates through a series of complex, challenging martial arts movements, simultaneously reciting the text and singing with a steady, resounding voice. At the end, his agile descend from the platform exhibited stunning physicality and virtuosity, fully bringing the charismatic character Lü Bu to life. It was an astounding sight.

– Nomination Review for 32nd Golden Melody Awards for Traditional Arts and Music Best Actor Award: Lü Bu Tests His Horse

I must say that it has been a long time since I last saw such an outstanding show. Huang Yu-lin and Chen Chin-ho handed over their roles to Lin Ting-yu and Wang Yung-tseng. They are joined by Liu Yu-chih. who takes on the role of the netherworld judge. With that, the cast is complete, and all the performers are remarkably fitting for their roles. Most importantly, this rendition of Seized Alive exuded a style unique to their generation. Liu Yu-chih’s wacky portrayal of the netherworld judge was the highlight of the entire piece – he displayed incredible skill with chairs and fire-spitting. Wang Yung-tseng’s technique is superb, and his portrayal of Zhang San was hilarious and comical – definitely under the guidance of Chen Chin-ho. As for Lin Ting-yu, she made the role her own. Her facial expressions were richly layered – from a collected sombreness to a sorrowful hatred, and finally a toothy smile when she donned her red dress. It was bewitchingly alluring and breathtaking to watch. Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! – I have to repeat myself. The team has fully captured the artistic essence of their generation and made this performance their own!

– Seized Alive – Audience Review

From the moment Tai took the stage today, you can tell that he trained under Teacher Tang Wen-hua. The audience member next to me could not help but exclaim repeatedly how much he resembled Teacher Tang Wen-hua. His singing, breath, expressions, and even his flippant, witty charisma on stage all reminded me of Teacher Tang Wen-hua. The scene where he sparred with Chang was visually stunning, with the blue and pink swords crossing and dancing spectacularly. Chang is considered the belle of young Chinese opera female performers. I would often share photos of her in modern attire with my friends. Then, I would show them photos of her on stage in full martial arts wear. They would always retreat in fear, afraid that they may end up being beaten to a pulp like Lü Dong-bin!

– Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea – Audience Review

Artist Information

GuoGuang Opera Company


GuoGuang Opera Company is one of the most inventive traditional operas troupes in Taiwan. Since its establishment in 1995, GuoGuang Opera Company has devoted itself to infusing a modern consciousness in jingju (Peking Opera) and kunqu opera. The principles of modernisation and literarisation are two principles that serve as guidelines for the creation of new operas. In addition to many traditional jingju and kunqu operas, the representative works of GuoGuang Opera Company include many newly created operas, all of which have won acclaim in cultural circles.


In recent years, GuoGuang Opera Company has spared no effort in cultivating young talent. It has also undertaken innovative collaborations with troupes from different countries and with different aesthetic principles, including The Dream of the Embroidered Robe, a collaboration with the Yokohama Noh Theater, and Phaedra, a collaboration with Singapore’s Siong Leng Musical Association. Through efforts such as these, GuoGuang aspires to give shape to a distinctively Taiwanese school of jingju and kunqu operas, a school based on new aesthetic ideals.


GuoGuang Opera Company has been invited to perform in many countries from around the world, including the Avignon Festival in France, Chekhov International Theatre Festival in Russia, Prague Spring Festival, Shanghai China International Arts Festival, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s HuayiChinese Festival of Arts in Singapore, and New Vision Arts Festival in Hong Kong.

Date & Time

21 Jul 2023, Fri


Esplanade Theatre
Tickets & Prices

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