Fri, Dec 23, 2005 - Page 15 News List

Opera on the move

By Derek Lee  /  STAFF REPORTER

Ming Hua Yuan crew members, led by Sun Cui-feng, perform at the National Traditional Arts Center.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MING HUA YUAN

Opera can be a moving art form.

Chen Sheng-fu (陳勝福) the imaginative producer and troupe leader of the Ming Hua Yuan Taiwanese Opera (明華園戲劇團), has invited opera fans to enjoy a train journey together with some of the group's singers.

The activity, starting on Saturday, is the first of its kind in Taiwanese Opera's 100-year history and comes some 120 years after Taiwan's first locomotive train began operations.

The National Center for Traditional Arts (國立傳統藝術中心) in Lo-Tong (羅東), Ilan County (宜蘭縣), will launch a year-end Taiwanese Opera Gala that commences tonight and features daily opera shows until New Year's Day to coincide with the train ride activity.

The first of the three trains will leave Taipei Train Station at 10am tomorrow for Lo-Tong, where the center is located. During the two-hour train ride, opera fans will have the opportunity of meeting some of the troupe's opera singers in the five train carriages reserved for the journey.

Superstars such as Sun Cui-feng (孫翠鳳), Tang Mei-yun(唐美雲), Chen Sheng-zai (陳勝在), Xu Ya-fen(許亞芬), Liao Qiong-zhi (廖瓊枝) and many others will participate in the trips.

Travelers on the first train, named the "Merry Christmas Express," will be entertained by popular actress Sun and her Ming Hua Yuan crew members.

The second train, named the "New Year's Eve Express," is scheduled to leave Taipei at 2pm on Dec. 31 and is slated to arrive in Lo-Tong in time for the year-end Taiwanese Opera Gala.

Opera stars from the troupe will present a series of performances and participate in the New Year's Eve party in the evening.

The third train, named the "Happy and Fortunate Express," will leave Taipei at 10am on Jan. 21.

Participants may submit requests for his or her favorite singer to attend.

A round-trip train ticket, which includes insurance and transportation to and from the center, costs NT$1,250.

For more information visit www.ncfta.gov.tw or call (02) 2772 7863.

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