Cantonese opera and Cantonese operatic song are still booming in Hong Kong with thousands of performances staged regularly every year. While major events take place in theatres, town halls and temporary bamboo theatres, performances are also held at universities and schools, in streets and parks, at restaurants, and at private singing gatherings organised by local “operatic singing clubs”, with many broadcast on radio, television and the internet. In this talk, Prof Chan Sau-yan looks at the ways in which Cantonese opera has influenced Hong Kong culture, exploring the sacred and secular activities related to the operatic events staged for temple festivals; performances staged in streets, parks and singing clubs; the place of Cantonese opera in school and university curricula; how different genres of performing arts have been inspired by elements of Cantonese opera; how operatic terms are incorporated into the Cantonese vernacular; and how Cantonese opera is viewed by the Hong Kong public.

3 March 2018 (Saturday)

2:30 - 3:45pm

Room 1206, 12/F, HKU SPACE Po Leung Kuk Stanley Ho Community College
(66 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay – Exit A or F, Causeway Bay MTR Station)

Prof Chan Sau-yan


Free admission. Limited capacity on a first come, first served basis. Please register online in advance.


Ms Leung (852) 2200 0872,

Accessibility Services:
Live audio description and sign language interpretation are available upon request with at least 14 days’ advance notice. Please contact: (852) 2200 0872 /

Adverse Weather Arrangements:
If Typhoon Signal No. 8 or above or Black Rainstorm Warning is in force at 11am and onwards, or if an announcement is made by the Hong Kong Observatory that the Typhoon Signal No. 8 or above is likely to be issued at 11am or onwards, the talk will be cancelled or rescheduled.

Programme Partner:



About Speaker:

Prof Chan Sau-yan

Prof Chan Sau-yan read music and philosophy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong before embarking on doctoral studies at the University of Pittsburgh under the supervision of Professors Bell Yung and Deane Root. He taught at the Music Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 1987 to 2007, where he founded the Cantonese Opera Research Programme and Chinese Opera Information Centre, and served as Associate Director of University General Education. He recently returned to Hong Kong after a seven-year stay in Wales, where he learned Welsh folk dance and creative writing. He is the author and editor of twenty academic books on the musical structure, performance practice, ethnographic and historical aspects of Cantonese opera, including Improvisation in a Ritual Context: The Music of Cantonese Opera (Chinese University Press, 1991). At present, he is a writer-cum-researcher.

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