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HKADC Expresses the Deepest Condolences over the Passing of Renowned Xiqu Veteran Yau Sing-po

Renowned Xiqu Veteran Mr Yau Sing-po passed away yesterday. The Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) expresses its deepest condolences to Mr Yau’s family.

Mr Yau Sing-po started to learn Xiqu under the wings of his father, Yau King-hung, and made his debut as a child prodigy at the age of nine. He had been active on the Xiqu stage since the 1960s. For more than half a century, he appeared in countless major Xiqu productions. In the late 1970s, Mr Yau was revered as one of the “Six Pillars” of major Xiqu troupes. Mr Yau continued to captivate audiences with his vivid portrayal of a range of characters, to name a few, Xiang Yu in Farewell My Concubine and Cao Cao in Cao Cao and Yang Xiu. In the early years of Mr Yau’s career, he focused on wenwusheng (the military and civil male role) and subsequently turned to the role-type of clown, expanding at the same time his repertoires to cover other role-types including lousheng (senior male), loudan (senior female) and hualian (painted face). He stood out as a uniquely versatile performing artist embodying the best of all schools.

Mr Yau had been actively promoting the development of Xiqu. In 1971, he co-founded the Group of Hong Kong Experimental Cantonese Opera with Mr Yuen Siu-fai and Mr Li Chi-kei, aiming to explore and experiment new directions in Xiqu. The group actively wrote new stories and adapted classical plays, and introduced an array of highly-acclaimed new titles including The Orphan of the Chiu Family and Fifteen Strings of Cash to revitalise and rejuvenate Xiqu. To nurture budding talents, Mr Yau recorded the re-runs of his signature titles as reference materials for research, making significant contribution to the development and advancement of Xiqu.

In recognition of his achievements, Mr Yau was awarded accolades including the Best Stage Performer Award by the Hong Kong Artists' Guild (1992), the Medal of Honour from the HKSAR Government (2009), and the Award for Outstanding Contribution in Arts of the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards (2016). He was also bestowed the title of Honorary Fellow by the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2016. He received the Bronze Bauhinia Star from the HKSAR Government in 2017.

Mr Yau Sing-po had made remarkable contribution to the development of Xiqu in Hong Kong and his passing is a great loss to the local arts community. His accomplishment and devotion to the arts will be long remembered.