Huayi 2019: Painted Skin – An Opera in Concert

Date: 23 February 2019, Saturday
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Esplanade Concert Hall


Co-commissioned by China Shanghai International Arts Festival,Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts (Singapore) and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra


Give it to me. Give all your heart to me.


An exciting fusion of Western operatic style and Peking Opera elements, Painted Skin – An Opera in Concert is an ambitious adaptation of the classic Chinese short story from Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling. Presented as an opera in concert, a dramatic narrative unfolds, revealing an inner world of greed, lust and hypocrisy concealed under the glamorous veneers that humans wear.


A Chinese scholar chances upon a beautiful woman crying in the rain while on his way home. He gives her an umbrella out of kindness, unaware that she is actually a demon in disguise, wearing a mask made of human skin painted with beautiful features. Besotted with the scholar, the demon charms him. A romantic relationship ensues but eventually results in tragedy.


A co-commission by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, China Shanghai International Arts Festival, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, and produced by Major Performing Arts Group, Painted Skin is an innovative and creative musical interpretation of a classic tale. The production sees the acclaimed Singapore Chinese Orchestra collaborating with a creative team comprising scriptwriter Wang Yuanfei, renowned composer Hao Weiya, pioneering director Yi Liming, under the baton of maestro Tsung Yeh.


Coupled with live multimedia projections and contemporary theatrical elements, the story is brought to life by a talented cast including mezzo-soprano, soprano and Peking Opera actor, accompanied by an ensemble of leading musicians from Singapore Chinese Orchestra.


The hearts of humans,

Are they crimson, or are they black?


Co-commissioned by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, China Shanghai International Arts Festival, Singapore Chinese Orchestra, and produced by Major Performing Arts Group.


Creative Team


Wang Yuanfei scriptwriter

Hao Weiya composer

Yi Liming director


Main Cast


Dong Fang as Scholar Wang (impersonated by Mezzo-soprano)

Li Jing Jing as Mrs Wang (Soprano)

Liu Zheng as Ghost Gui Yan (Peking Opera Actor)




Tsung Yeh conductor

Singapore Chinese Orchestra ensemble


Li Bao Shun, She Ling gaohu & erhu

Zhu Lin, Shen Qin, Tan Man Man, Qin Zi Jing erhu

Lin Gao zhonghu

Wong Qin Kai zhonghu & musical saw

Xu Zhong, Xu Xuena cello

Zhang Hao double bass

Ma Huan yangqin

Yu Jia pipa

Huang Gui Fang zhongruan & sanxian

Jing Po daruan

Xu Hui guzheng & percussion

Yin Zhi Yang, Lim Sin Yeo dizi, xiao, xun

Zhong Zhi Yue, Cheng Ho Kwan Kevin sheng

Jin Shi Yi suona

Han Lei guanzi

Xu Fan, Boo Chong Wei Benjamin percussion