Mon 10 Mar 2014
Mon 10 Mar 2014
Sun 9 Mar 2014
Géza alerted me this week to the fact that this impressive looking CCTV documentary had been translated into English.
The wonder and love shows in every scene. Needless to say, if you are new to Peking Opera, this is a splendid place to start.
The complete series is presented here:
(45 minutes, 170 MB)
Sun 2 Mar 2014
Above, Zhao Huan on 2014-03-01 at Place Des Arts in Montreal in “The Revenge of Prince Zidan”.
Before the show, we ate a Leméac on Laurier close to Du Parc, an absolutely splendid French restaurant with superlative cuisine and service.
We showed up an hour early for the jingju briefing in French, with out of costume demonstrations by Mr. Li… didn’t catch his first name and it’s not in the program. Very nice and humorous. Someone videotaped it, I hope they post it.
I have to say, what a nice crowd, a nice mix of older francophones and a very sharp looking younger anglophone contingent. Only one lady right behind me kept snickering each time the queen spoke because of the Beijing Opera mannerisms. Other than that, enthusiastic applause.
Unfortunately the seats were a third full at best. Minimal to no publicity beforehand. The cast was not identified anywhere except in the production credits of the “Spectacular China” event brochure, along with musicians and organizers listed alphabetically by name without function. And yet, the performers gave their all.
The play was absolutely brilliant in person after seeming a bit ho-hum on video. The exact same cast as the video from what I can tell. Fu Xiru was awesome. There were two translations displayed for the show, one in French which translated the Chinese prose, very interesting, and one in English which was directly from Shakespeare. I thought reading both added extra depth to the play, but English-speaking only attendees might have missed out a bit.
I sat third row right next to the stage, and was repeatedly about 20 feet from Zhao Huan. I did not read the translations while she was singing. Initially she had a noticeable issue with some low notes, but once past that she splendid overall. I was so excited I forgot the camera in the car. The stage photos on this post are by my better half, Johanne, with her Android phone. She always takes better pictures than I do anyway.
Actress Guo Ruiyue 郭睿玥 as Hamlet’s mom had a towering voice and impressive volume. She unexpected hit the highest notes of the evening. Bravo! No, wait… Hao!
This version of the production was tuned a bit, it did not include the “prince of the netherworld” painted face role, which, in retrospect was a bolt-on and not really useful to the story.
(click on above picture to zoom in, nice one!)
Sadly, I was unable to catch the performers after the show. Numerous reasons why. I can list a few off. We had to drive back 300 km in a minor blizzard and I had to get up early. We had spent the day at Ikea first. Place Des Arts is a sprawling complex with US airport-like security. My wife might not have understood why I wanted to stalk a nice little Asian lady for an autograph. There was a very strange rave event in the streets with light shows mixing colors into the falling snow right outside Place des Arts and the performers might have wanted to walk out and go see that instead of me. C’est la guerre, what can I say.
Yet, a memory I shall always cherish.
A behind the scenes video in French I couldn’t rip at:
Sun 23 Feb 2014
Here comes Zhao Huan performing in Prince Zidan, or Zi Dan or Hamlet or whatever you want to call it, at Place Des Arts in Montreal next week. It was advertised in the papers (Le Devoir) yesterday.
Fern confirmed last night it looks like the troupe would most likely include Zhao Huan, my favorite Cheng School actress from Shanghai.
Heck, it’s only 300 km away in the dead of a Canadian winter. Single ticket was inexpensive, I’m at the front second row a bit to the right. Yay!
We posted a video of this opera a while back here. It’s a modern costumed Beijing Opera hybrid. Who cares, it’s Zhao Huan!
Weather should be around -15 C, but it feels colder in Montreal as it is humid on the island. Light snow and heart palpitations predicted.
Sat 22 Feb 2014
Posted by Bertrand under An Ping 安平, Chen Shaoyun 陈少云, Dong Yuanyuan 董圆圆, Full length concerts, Jin Xiquan 金喜全, Jingju / Beijing Opera / Peking Opera 京剧, Li Peihong 李佩红, Li Shengsu 李胜素, Liu Guijuan 刘桂娟, Meng Guanglu 孟广禄, Shi Yihong 史依弘, Song Xiaochuan 宋小川, Wang Peiyu 王佩瑜, Xu Mengke 徐孟珂, Yang Shaopeng 杨少彭, Yu Kuizhi 于魁智, Yuan Huiqin 袁慧琴, Zhang Ke 张克, Zhao Baoxiu 赵葆秀
Here is the full cast list typed up by Fern, which originally she posted here.
Hosts：Ren Luyu 任鲁豫、Zhang Zhe 张喆、Dong Yi 董艺、Fu Yulong 付玉龙
Honored guests：Lei Kesheng 雷恪生、Xu Di 许娣、Liu Guijuan 刘桂娟、He Yunwei 何云伟、Li Jing 李菁、Song Xiaochuan 宋小川 and others
(1) Heaven and Earth All Auspicious 《天上人间共吉祥》 – Li Jun 李军、Hu Xuan 胡璇、Jiang Yishan 姜亦珊、Dou Xiaoxuan 窦晓璇 、Xu Mengke 徐孟珂、Liu Zhen 刘宸 and others
(2) Comic dialog In the year of the Horse let’s sing “Ma” 相声《马年唱马》- He Yunwei 何云伟、Li Jing 李菁
(3) Fragrance of National Essence (Part 1)《国粹飘香》（一）
1、Beijing Opera The Wujia Slope 京剧《武家坡》 – Zhang Jianguo 张建国、Zhao Xiujun 赵秀君
2、Beijing Opera Silang Visits his Mother·Son and Mother Meet 京剧《四郎探母·见娘》 – Zhao Baoxiu 赵葆秀、Li Baochun 李宝春
3、Beijing Opera Entering the Palace for the Second Time 京剧《二进宫》- Yu Kuizhi 于魁智、Li Shengsu 李胜素、Meng Guanglu 孟广禄
(4) Comedy sketch Restaurant Makeover 小品《酒楼蜕变》 – Li Weijian 李伟健、Liu Guijuan 刘桂娟、Wan Yu 万宇、Li Baomei 李玉梅
(5) Happy New Year Family Reunion 《欢欢喜喜过大年》 – Liu Jinquan 刘金泉、Zhai Mo 翟墨、Liu Zhen 刘宸
1、Beijing Opera 京剧：Zhang Xinyue 张馨月、Du Zhe 杜喆
2、Shaoxing Opera 越剧：Wang Zhiping 王志萍、Zheng Guofeng 郑国凤
3、Wuxi Opera 锡剧：Zhou Dongliang 周东亮、Dong Hong 董红
Very sympathetic couple!
4、Henan Opera 豫剧：Jin Buhuan 金不换、Xu Fuxian 徐福先
This snippet was definitely the funniest thing I’ve seen in this year so far.
5、Huangmei Opera 黄梅戏：Zhou Shan 周珊、Zhou Yuanyuan 周源源
(6) Talk show My childhood Chinese Opera education 脱口秀《我的戏曲启蒙》 – Fang Qingping 方清平
This man graduated at NACTA, and now shares his memories. I always had a picture in my mind about how children are picked for this or that role, apparently I was right. “Your face is handsome, you will be trained as sheng!” “You are chubby, you’ll be trained as chou!” Fang, rather reluctantly, ended up as dan.
(7) Jinghu piece Welcome Spring 京胡协奏曲《迎春》 – Yan Shouping 燕守平、Li Zuming 李祖铭 and others
(8) Chinese Opera Skit Fulfilling a Dream 戏曲小品《圆梦》 – Tan Zhengyan 谭正岩、Fang Xu 方旭 and others
Zhengyan shows us his stilt skills…
(9) Chinese Opera Skit New Long Feng Cheng Xiang·Picking the Son-in-Law 戏曲小品《新龙凤呈祥·选婿》- He Yunwei as Jia Hua 何云伟（贾化）、Li Jing as the Empress 李菁（太后）、Zhu Qiang as Qiao Xuan 朱强（乔玄）、Wang Yuebo (pingshu performer) as Sun Quan 王玥波（孙权）、Shen Tiemei (triple Plum Blossom winner Sichuan Opera performer) as Sun Shangxiang 沈铁梅（孙尚香）、Xie Tao (Shanxi Opera performer) as Liu Bei 谢涛（刘备）、Tang Chunyuan (winner of CCTV’s Monkey King Competition) 唐春园（美猴王争霸赛金奖）
(10) The Empress Wants Opera!《太后点戏》- He Saifei 何赛飞、Zhu Shihui 朱世慧、Fu Yulong 付玉龙
1、Beijing Opera Duanmijian 京剧《断密涧》- An Ping 安平、Wang Peiyu 王珮瑜
2、Beijing Opera Empty City Strategy 京剧《空城记》 – Tan Xiaozeng 谭孝曾
3、Beijing Opera – Hebei Bangzi mix Silang Visits his Mother·Sitting in the Palace 京梆两下锅《四郎探母·坐宫》- Wang Yinghui 王英会、Wang Yan 王艳
4、Beijing Opera Famen Temple·Reading the Accusation 京剧《法门寺·念大状子》 – Zhu Shihui 朱世慧
(11) Beauty of the Country《江山美人》 表演：Bai Wenqian (piano) 白汶芊（钢琴）、Wu Yuxia (pipa) 吴玉霞（琵琶）、Wu Rujun (jinghu) 吴汝俊（京胡）、Ding Xiaojun (Yuji) 丁晓君（虞姬）、Zhang Xirui (solo dancer as Yuji) 张丝蕊（独舞虞姬）、Liu Kuikui (Xiang Yu) 刘魁魁（项羽）
It seems Ding Xiaojun is frequently recruited in these, erm, things.
(12) Happy Theater Fans《戏迷乐》- Lei Kesheng 雷恪生、Xu Di 许娣
1、Qinqiang The Unicorn Purse 秦腔《锁麟囊》- Li Junmei 李军梅 and amateur performers
2、Shaoxing Opera Butterfly Lovers 越剧《梁祝》- Xiao Ya 萧雅 and amateur performers
3、Children’s Chinese Opera Stage Journey of Culture 少儿戏曲小品《文明出行》 – Shenyang Gong Jing Children’s Art Troupe 沈阳宫静少儿艺术团
4、Children’s Beijing Opera Silang Visits his Mother·Sitting in the Palace 京剧《坐宫》- Chu Fengyi 褚沣怡、Tang Da 唐达、Hao Runlai 郝润来、Yuan Quan 袁铨、Wu Yusheng 吴雨圣
5、Children’s Beijing Opera Beating the Emperor’s Robe 京剧《打龙袍》选段 表演：褚天舒、姜舒原、李明朗
6、Beijing Opera Shajia Village 京剧《沙家浜》 “There’s a pine tree on top of Mount Tai ”“泰山顶上一棵松” – Huang Bingqiang 黄炳强 and amateur performers
(13) World Full of Spring 《春满人间》
1、Wuxi Opera Couple Grinding 锡剧《双推磨》 – Zhao Baoyue 赵保乐、Guan Bo 管波
2、“Flower drum” Opera The Woodcutter and the Fox Fairy 花鼓戏《刘海砍樵》- Zhao Yi 赵毅、Zhang Yan 张燕
3、Shaoxing Opera Dream of the Red Chamber 越剧《红楼梦》- Lü Wei 吕薇、Bai Xue 白雪
4、Huangmei Opera Fairy Couple 黄梅戏《天仙配》- Song Xiaochuan 宋小川、Li Lingyu 李玲玉
5、World Full of Spring 《春满人间》- Wu Bixia 吴碧霞、Wei Jindong 魏金栋
(14) Chinese Opera Skit On the Road to Take Office 戏曲小品《上任路上》 – Pan Changjiang 潘长江、Yu Wenhua 于文华 and others
(15) Fragrance of National Essence (Part 2)《国粹飘香》（二）
1、Beijing Opera Tale of the White Snake·Boating on the Lake 京剧《白蛇传·游湖》 – Dong Yuanyuan 董圆圆、Jin Xiquan 金喜全、Yan Hongyu 阎虹羽
2、Beijing Opera Huo Xiaoyu 京剧《霍小玉》- Zhang Jiachun 张佳春
3、Beijing Opera The Battle of Fancheng 京剧《战樊城》 – Zhang Ke 张克、Yang Shaopeng 杨少彭、Ling Ke 凌珂
4、Beijing Opera Mu Guiying Takes Command 京剧《穆桂英挂帅》- Li Peihong 李佩泓
(16) Beijing Opera Canceling the Banquet 京剧《罢宴》 – Yuan Huiqin 袁慧琴、Ni Maocai 倪茂才
(17) Newly Written Historical Beijing Opera The Whole Empire Converted 新编历史京剧《天下归心》- Meng Guanglu 孟广禄、Chen Shaoyun 陈少云、Shi Yihong 史依弘
(18) Chinese Opera Song Chinese Dream 戏歌《中国梦》- Yu Kuizhi 于魁智、Li Shengsu 李胜素、Yang Chi 杨赤、Yuan Huiqin 袁慧琴
Fri 21 Feb 2014
Finally, the rumor/news is out on May 19 Zhang Huoding will be performing 春闺梦 Chun Gui Meng (Dream in a Girl’s Chamber) at the Chang’an in Beijing. Apparently Song Xiaochuan tweeted they would perform this again for the first time in 6 years. No doubt this rumor will be televised in due time. Meanwhile, I posted a full-length version here as well as a DVD excerpt here.
Sat 8 Feb 2014
Keep an eye out for Fern’s next blog post at Ear Candy, in which she is bound to recount her encounter with the good looking guy above.
Can hardly wait!
Sat 18 Jan 2014
Here is a nice, fun opera with lots of interesting and unusual pantomime as well as some acrobatics from troupe rarely seen.
Li Jingwen above and below, bio in Chinese here.
Fern provided the cast for this opera here:
Cast is: Li Jingwen 李静文，Zhang Hongwei 张宏伟，Li Qihong 李旗红，Bao Xiru 保锡茹，Mi Chunming 米春明
Performance of the Shenyang Jingju Theater, originally broadcast in 2009 here.
Apparently an older performance just rebroadcast, I even wondered if I had ever seen any of these performers before. With the handy search features on the Ear Candy and Operabeijing blogs, I discovered Li Jingwen was a jury in the 2012 CCTV Jingju Contest.
Zhang Hongwei is Fourth class (2004-2008) of the China Outstanding Young Jingju Performers Class (中国京剧优秀青年演员研究生班).
Fern also provided the storyline here:
Chen Xiuying and her mother run a small teahouse in Taiyuan, Shanxi province. Shi Lun, the son of Shi Sulong who is Commander of the resident forces, sees Xiuying and is smitten by her beauty. He attempts to take her by force, and is chased out of the teahouse by Mrs. Chen and given a good beating along the way. A young man, Kuang Zhong, happening to pass by, helps Mrs. Chen home.
At the teahouse, Kuang spots an iron bow – the Chen family’s heirloom, and recognizing it to be of uncommon pedigree, is filled with admiration. He and Xiuying agree to a game of archery, and the two are soon betrothed as they find a good match in each other.
Shi Lun, however, becomes terribly jealous of Kuang, and plots to kill him and his father. Xiuying uncovers the scheme, disguises herself as a man and kills Shi, before fleeing with her mother into the night.
They escape to the Erlong Mountain, where the leader of the fort, Guan Fengying, mistakes Xiuying with his fiancée, Wang Fugang. Xiuying and her mother decide to go along with the quiproquo and follow Guan to the mountain fort, where Xiuying trains the men in preparation for battle. She then leads them to Taiyuan to take down Shi Lun’s father once and for all. The Commander first sends the real Wu Fugang into battle, and on meeting defeat, calls back Kuang and his father from their posts and orders them to ride into battle. Thus the couple meets on the battlefield yet neither recognize the other, with Xiuying in a man’s armour and Kuang having grown a beard and a moustache – until Xiuying draws out her iron bow. The two couples – Kuang and Xiuying, and Guan and Wang – are happily reunited.
Final note: it’s pretty much impossible to thank Fern enough for all her help and contributions, I get pretty intimidated just counting them all. Let me just once again congratulate her for passing her official Chinese written Mandarin aptitude test. You’re our hero, Fern, in and out of armor!
So when’s the next trip to Beijing again?
Mon 13 Jan 2014
See bio of author here.
Tue 31 Dec 2013
Here is a recent “CCTV Sky Theater” with a complete 大探二》Da Tan Er:
《大保国》Da Bao Guo (Defending the Nation)
《探皇陵》Tan Huang Ling (Visiting the Emperor’s Tomb)
《二进宫》Er Jin Gong (Entering the Palace for the Second Time)
The cast short list includes:
Lü Yang 吕洋
Deng Muwei 邓沐玮
Ling Ke 凌珂
We posted this opera two years ago, with Wang Rongrong here. It seems the video file link was broken yet again (?) so I fixed it yesterday. It’s always fun to compare two approaches to the same operas.
From Fern’s blog here, my most cherished reference I might add, the three stories of this combined opera:
《大保国》Da Bao Guo (Defending the Nation) – At the time of the early death of Ming Emperor Muzong (Emperor Longqing) the crown prince is still an infant, and the imperial concubine Li Yanfei governs the country from behind the curtain. By deceiving Li Yanfei, her father, Li Liang, attempts to seize the throne. At the Longfeng Pavilion, Ministers Xu Yanzhao and Yang Bo strongly warn the imperial concubine Li Yanfei , but she refuses to listen and ruler and ministers part on bad terms.
《探皇陵》Tan Huang Ling (Visiting the Emperor’s Tomb) - Xu Yanzhao visits the tomb of the Emperor and pays homage. Yang Bo also comes to visit the tomb with a group of soldiers, and together they decide to speak to Li Yanfei again.
《二进宫》Er Jin Gong (Entering the Palace for the Second Time) - Meanwhile Li Liang blockades the palace, completely isolating Li Yanfei. She finally realizes that Xu and Yang are loyal ministers and she was deceived. Xu and Yang manage to sneak into the palace, and convince Li Yanfei to entrust the baby prince to them, promising they will help him ascend to the throne.
I’m always wrong, but I think this was filmed in Tianjin, it has that characteristic hall reverb.
Deng Muwei 邓沐玮:
Very nice music arrangements in this one.