Esplanade Presents


Chun-cao's Intrusion at the Court - World’s Best Comedy

GuoGuang Opera Company (Taiwan)

23 Jul 2023, Sun, 3pm

3hrs 10mins

(Intermission: 1 x 20mins)

Esplanade Theatre

This event is over.


“A comedy you must watch in your lifetime!"


"Why would the teacher say that Chun-Cao’s intrusion at the court is in fact a colossal tragedy? Most comedies stem from the absurdities in life. Tragic or infuriating events in our lives are amplified on stage, and as we dissolve into laughter, we contemplate more intently. One moment you are laughing, the next you are crying. Comedies embellish sorrow with joy and substitute anger with parody. As we resign ourselves to the realities of life, there is nothing left to do but laugh out loud.” – Audience Review (quoted by a Chinese Teacher in class to train critical thinking)


A comedy not to be missed!


This classic jingju (Peking opera) play centres on the smart and witty maidservant, Chun-cao, who used her intelligence and sharp words to turn a bad situation around, bringing about a blissful marriage for her lady. The story is told in a lively and humorous manner and spotlights on the role of hua dan (lead female role) and chou (clown role).


Li Banyue, daughter of the Prime Minister, went up hill for a pilgrimage with her maidservant, Chun-cao. They were harassed by Wu Du, son of the Minister of Personnel, but were luckily saved by the chivalrous witness Xue Meiting. Banyue did not know what to do in return, but she was very grateful for the passerby’s help. Xue Meiting went down the hill and saw Wu Du beating a fisherman to death to get his daughter. Out of rage, Xue beat Wu to death and turned himself in right away, not wanting to implicate others.


Chun-cao was worried about Xue Meiting. She rushed to the court to see what was going on and saw Wu’s mother throwing her weight around, forcing the Magistrate Hu Jin to sentence Xue to the penalty of caning to death. Chun-cao broke into the court to stop the sentencing. Cornered by Magistrate Hu’s questioning, Chun-cao made up a lie and claimed that Xue was betrothed to her mistress. Wu’s mother was shocked while Magistrate Hu was still suspicious. He ordered Chun-cao to lead him to the Prime Minister to verify her claim.


Along the way, Chun-cao tried to come up with some ideas to procrastinate. When they got to the residence, Chun-cao talked her mistress into admitting the engagement in order to save Xue. Banyue had no choice but to vaguely agree. Magistrate Hu believed them and rushed to the capital to ask for rewards for his credit. Banyue had to go with Chun-cao to the capital to see her father.


The Prime Minister blamed Banyue for overstepping the boundaries. He wrote a letter refuting the claim that Xue was his son-in-law and ordered Magistrate Hu to execute Xue. Chun-cao and Banyue intercepted the letter and revised it into an acknowledgment of the marriage. Magistrate Hu was thrilled when he got the letter, and arranged a high-profile trip to send Xue to the capital to get married. The news spread and all the officials from the capital and provinces started sending gifts to congratulate the family, and even the Emperor also bestowed a plaque upon them. Prime Minister Li had to accept the situation and let Banyue and Xue Meiting get married.


Main Casts: Huang Shih-ya and Chen Yuan-hung


Admission Age:
6 and above.
Language: Mandarin
Surtitle Language: English, Chinese
Things to Note:
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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 Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts in Singapore, and New Vision Arts Festival in Hong Kong.

Date & Time

23 Jul 2023, Sun


Esplanade Theatre
Tickets & Prices

Students, NSFs & Seniors

Cat 1 $88 - $30
Cat 2 $68 - $30
Cat 3 $48 $40 $30
Cat 4 $38 $30 $30

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Package Specials

Enjoy 15% savings with purchase of 4 tickets to the same show or across applicable shows (Chun-cao's Intrusion at the Court and A Show of Prowess: Peking Opera Excerpts).


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