A video featuring four 16-year-old foreign exchange students in Hong Kong on stage singing a household Cantonese opera went viral on social media early this week, with netizens praising their good voices and fluent Cantonese.
On May 28, the Facebook page Cantonese Museum posted the video (below), which shows the four foreign girls wearing traditional qipao dresses and singing The Fragrant Death of Di Nü Hua (or An Emperor’s Flower), the eighth and last act of a Chinese fictional story about Princess Changping of the Ming Dynasty and her husband/lover Zhou Shixian.
Three girls on the left represented Zhou, singing the “male voice”, while the girl with blonde hair took the female lead role of Princess Changping.
According to comments left by netizens, they are students from Italy, Austria and the United States who came to Hong Kong for a one-year exchange with local schools, an experience arranged by a non-profit organization named AFS Intercultural Exchanges.
Their performance was one of the highlights during a celebration night marking the organization’s 35th anniversary in Hong Kong last Saturday on May 26.
It was learned that the ladies had been practicing over the last two months with the help of volunteers transcribing the Cantonese words and meanings, and explaining the story behind the act.