Raccoon for a Prince: A Cantonese Opera Classic
Why We Recommend it
One of the most historic local Cantonese opera associations performs Raccoon for a Prince, a Ming dynasty folk story about a Song dynasty concubine swapping a contending concubine’s child with a raccoon to claim the throne.
Legend has it that during the Song dynasty, Emperor Zhenzong was desperate for a son to be his heir. He announced that whoever could bear him a son first would be chosen as his empress. The ambitious Concubine Liu poisoned the midwife of Concubine Lee, who gave birth to her son before her. Liu replaced Lee’s son with a skinned raccoon, tricking the emperor into believing that Lee gave birth to a cursed creature. Lee was then fallen into the emperor’s disfavour.
This age-old classic will be brought to the stage again by The Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong, or Barwo (which means “eight and peace”), which was founded in the Qing Dynasty during the reign of the Emperor Guangxu. In collaboration with Yau Ma Tei Theatre, Barwo’s “Cantonese Opera Young Talent Showcase” programme features a new generation of Cantonese opera cast trained by the veterans of the trade, and revives some of the most celebrated shows in the past, including Raccoon for a Prince, to the local community.