China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SUNDAY PEOPLE -

1924 Hong was born in Guangzhou.

1938 She went to Hong Kong to learn Can­tonese opera from her aunt, He Fu­lian. In­spired by a char­ac­ter named Hong Xian in Pek­ing Opera who fright­ens a cor­rupt of­fi­cer by steal­ing his golden box, she changed her stage name to Hong Xiannu.

1947 She started her ca­reer as a movie star in Hong Kong.

1952 She es­tab­lished the Hong style of singing, which blends Pek­ing Opera and Kunqu Opera singing, and Western bel canto tech­niques into the tra­di­tional Can­tonese Opera ac­tress’ singing.

1955 She re­turned to Guangzhou and joined the Guang­dong Can­tonese Opera Troupe, the pre­de­ces­sor of to­day’s Guang­dong Can­tonese Opera The­ater.

1956 She went to Bei­jing to stage per­for­mances of

1957 Late chair­man Mao Ze­dong watched Hong’s

in Guangzhou and wrote an in­scrip­tion to praise her come­back and en­cour­age her to keep on per­form­ing.

1959 Hong joined the Com­mu­nist Party of China.

1966-1978 Hong was sent to a farm in Yingde, Guang­dong prov­ince dur­ing the “cul­tural rev­o­lu­tion”(1966-1976).

1979 She made a come­back to the stage of Can­tonese opera by per­form­ing at the prov­ince’s gala cel­e­brat­ing the 30th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of New China.

1998 The Guangzhou gov­ern­ment hosted events to cel­e­brate the 60th an­niver­sary of Hong’s ca­reer. The Hong Xiannu Arts Center was com­pleted.

2009 She was named among the first 12 win­ners of life­time achieve­ment at the Chi­nese Drama Awards.

2013 Dec 8 Hong passed away be­cause of ill­ness in Guangzhou at the age of 89.


Then pre­mier Zhou En­lai hailed Can­tonese opera as the “red bean in the south”, a term widely used to de­scribe the art, af­ter watch­ing Hong’s

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