Hung Sin-nui

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Hung Sin-nui

Hung Sin-nui (红线女1924-2013), born Kuang Jianlian, was a renowned contemporary Cantonese opera singer and movie actress. She created a unique crisp, smooth and flirtatious Hung-tone style of singing by incorporating Peking Opera and Kunqu Opera techniques, and Western opera singing methods.

Life & Career

Hung grew up in a family of Cantonese opera performers in Kaiping City, Guangdong Province. She moved to Hong Kong during World WarⅡand started her opera career aged 12 under her aunt Ho Fu-lin's mentorship.

Hung first appeared on stage under the stage name Hung Sin-nui (Red Line Girl) in 1940, and made her screen debut in the 1947 film "Unforgettable Love."

Under the guidance of opera maestro Ma Sze-tsang (whom she later married), Hung developed a unique singing voice. In 1952, Hung founded Zhenshanmei Cantonese Opera Troupe in Hong Kong.

In 1955, Hung and Ma settled in Guangzhou where they led many Guangdong Cantonese Opera Troupe productions. Hung remained on the Chinese mainland for the rest of her life, devoting her life to promoting of Cantonese opera.

On Dec. 8, 2013, the Cantonese opera legend died of a heart attack in a Guangzhou hospital, aged 88.

President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, five other members of the Politburo Standing Committee, and former President Hu Jintao and former Premier Wen Jiabao, sent flowers and messages of condolence to her memorial service.

Several Hong Kong show business icons, including Andy Lau Tak-wah and Lisa Wong Ming-chuen, attended the service at Yinhe Yuan funeral home in Guangzhou.


Hung was married twice, first to well-known Cantonese opera actor Ma Sze-tsang from 1944 to 1955 and then to writer Hua Shan from 1970 to his death in 1985. Hung had two sons and one daughter from her first marriage. Her son Ma Dingsheng is a military commentator with Phoenix TV.

Posts & Titles

Hung was vice president of the Guangdong Cantonese Opera Troupe, vice chairwoman of Guangdong Branch of the China Theatre Association, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a deputy to the 3rd and 4th National People's Congress.


Regarded as a national treasure, the opera star and actress appeared in about 200 operas and more than 100 films.

In 1985, she received the Outstanding Artist Award from the United Nations Asian Performing Arts Association and the Performing Arts Award from the United Nations Symphony Association.

In 2001, she was named the Most Outstanding Artist of the Year at the Lincoln Center in New York.

In 2009, she received an Honorary Academy Award from the China Theatre Association.