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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Weekend
5 masterpieces in traditional Peking Opera repertoire
    2017-November-10  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

CHINESE President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan entertained visiting U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump with a Peking Opera performance at the Forbidden City on Wednesday afternoon. They watched three classic plays, namely “Spring Seedlings in the Pear Garden,” “Monkey King” and “The Drunken Concubine.”

Peking Opera, with a history of more than 200 years, is one of China’s major traditional art forms. Combining instrumental music, vocal performances, miming, dance and acrobatics, it has been inscribed into the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage list since 2010.

It features four main types of performers, called sheng (male role), dan (female role), jing (painted-face male role) and chou (clown).

For costumes and headdresses, Peking Opera performers use bright and contrasting colors, which are strictly based on the rank, occupation and lifestyle of different characters. Their faces are painted with elaborate make-up, also indicating a character’s social status and personality.

The list of Peking Opera classics is too long to enumerate. Here, we introduce you five selected masterpieces that can give a glimpse into the charm of Peking Opera.

1. ‘The Drunken Concubine’

“The Drunken Concubine” is almost a one-person show. Set in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it portrays one of China’s legendary beauties, Yang Yuhuan.

Yang, as the emperor’s favorite concubine, arranges a banquet one night and waits for the emperor to come. But after knowing she’s been stood up because the emperor chose another concubine over her, Yang decides to drink alone.

Master Mei Lanfang once gave an outstanding performance of Yang’s various stages of intoxication, her jealousy and bitterness, and her intention to forget all the unhappiness.

Scan the bar code for a performance of “The Drunken Concubine” by Li Shengsu, one of the most outstanding disciples of the Mei School.

2. ‘Monkey King’

The play derived from the Chinese classical novel “Journey to the West,” centering on a mythological figure named Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King.

Sun Wukong is a monkey born from a stone who then obtains supernatural powers through Taoist practices. After rebelling against the gods and being jailed under a mountain by the Buddha, he is later sent to protect Xuanzang the monk on a pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures.

3. ‘Farewell My Concubine’

Based on real events from more than 2,000 years ago, the opera recounts a famous tragic love story set in the transitional period between the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.) and the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220).

Xiang Yu, the king of Western Chu, is battling with rebel leader Liu Bang, founder of the Han Dynasty, for control of the empire. The night before their final battle, Xiang’s troops are outnumbered and surrounded by Liu’s army. King Xiang hears Liu’s troops singing Western Chu songs, suggesting his homeland has already been subjugated.

Seeing the king is in deep despair, his concubine Yu performs a sword dance to show her devotion to him. Fearful of being a burden to the king during the ultimate battle, Yu commits suicide with the king’s sword right after the dance.

4. ‘A River All Red’

“A River All Red” tells the story of Yue Fei, a hero who fought against invading troops during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Yue is one of the most famous generals in China’s history and a legend of resolute loyalty to his country and allegiance to his people.

The opera opens with Yue’s heroic battle against enemies from the north, which leads to his imprisonment, caused by the aspersion of Qin Hui, a treacherous court official. Many details of the opera are derived from official historical records of the Southern Song Dynasty. In the end, Yue is killed by Qin, but other patriotic generals carry out his will and save the country.

5. ‘Unicorn Trapping Purse’

“Unicorn Trapping Purse,” written by Wen Ouhong in 1937, is the representative work of Peking Opera master Chen Yanqiu.

According to ancient Chinese tradition, families need to prepare a lot of jewelry to ensure a bride is well provided for and will have promising sons. In this story, the big treasure purse is called a “unicorn trapping purse.”

Xue Xianglin, the heroine, uses her treasure to do many good deeds. In the end, she and her family are also lifted out of crisis by an anonymous supporter.

(China Daily)

(Scan the bar codes to watch the operas.)

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Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn