Sat 21 Sep 2013
(originally published on: Jun 20, 2011)(Updated 2013-09-21 to fix broken video and MP3 links)
First, a 5 minute video clip from the opera “Ying Tai Kang Hun” or “Yingtai against marriage” or “Zhu Yingtai Resists Marriage” (英台抗婚).
A DVD of this particular performance can be purchased here. This production has nice close-ups and good sound, but is a typically low-budget production with spectators chatting in the background… Still, I was very happy to receive it on the very day the letter carriers at Canada Post walked out on strike. Whew!
I’m a sucker for drama, and this is as good as it gets. Li Haiyan plays a character who has been delivered news not to her liking at all! No prince charming for her this lifetime.
The story, from the Fern Encyclopedia:
Zhu Yingtai and Liang Shanbo have been classmates in Phoenix Hill for three years and have grown to be very close. At their parting, Yingtai invents the existence of a sister and tells Shanbo to come and propose within a hundred days.
When Yingtai gets home, she is unaware that her father has betrothed her to the son of the Ma family. One day when she sees the betrothal gifts, she mistakes them to be Shanbo’s and is happy and shy. She is shocked and indignant when she knows the truth, and objects to the arranged marriage. Father and daughter fall out.
After seeing Yingtai and having told the irreversible situation, Shanbo dies of a broken heart. A tearful Yingtai mourns Shanbo in front of his grave.
Superb vocal control, solid acting. And what a great voice! There is a lot of feeling here. The audience roars approval, the orchestra sweeps beautifully in the background. Ah!
The video ends before curtain call, surely Madame Haiyan received a bouquet for this performance?
Before I leave you with a couple of nice photos of Li Haiyan, here is an MP3 of the first track off her quite hard to find CD, “Peking Opera Stars – Li Haiyan“. I received my CD (not from my favorite online store I hasten to add) with the jewel case crushed into tiny pieces… You’re lucky to hear this!
If you’re like me, you will be left wanting to hear more from Li Haiyan.
(update 2011-06-25) Fern spotted Li Haiyan singing oh-so-briefly at around 3 minutes into a video clip at:
She was looking sharp!