Liu Guijuan 刘桂娟

A web site is a full time job! I just fixed the links for all the photos on this one today.

(originally published on: May 7, 2011)

Today I am presenting a 2 1/2 hour concert featuring several exciting female Beijing Opera stars performing arias. The concert concludes with Li Shengsu, the foremost performer of the genre.

This file is in .AVI format, of 922MB in size, and can be played using VLC.

I’m really excited about this one, but it took quite a long time for me to post this because I needed help in identifying the performers. The following notes were kindly prepared by Fern.

All kinds of flowers are fragrant

Li Guojing Li Guojing (李国静) – On the Dock (海港)
Shanghai Beijing Opera Theater, first class dan, mainly Mei school, also Shang school


Lü Huimin

Lü Huimin (吕慧敏) – Selling Water (卖水), Peach Blossom Village (桃花村)
China National Peking Opera Company 2nd Troupe, first class huadan, Xun school

Zhang Yanling

Zhang Yanling (张艳玲) – Princess of Shuangyang (双阳公主), Han Ming Fei (汉明妃)
Tianjin Beijing Opera Theater, first class qingyi and daomadan, Shang school


Liu Guijuan

Liu Guijuan (刘桂娟) – Chen Sanliang (陈三两), The Great Enthronement (大登殿)
Tianjin Youth Beijing Opera Troupe, first class qingyi, Cheng school


Zhang Huifang

Zhang Huifang (张慧芳) – 2 excerpts from Xie Yaohuan (谢瑶环)
Hubei Beijing Opera Theater, first class qingyi, huashan, Zhang school


Zhang Ping

Zhang Ping (张萍) – Qiu Jin (秋瑾), Hong Yun Gang (modern opera) (红云岗)
Beijing Military Region Comrades-in-Arms Cultural Troupe, first class dan, Zhang


Zhao Xiujun

Zhao Xiujun (赵秀君) – Number One Scholar as Matchmaker (状元媒), 2 excerpts from Romance of the West Chamber (西厢记)
Tianjin Youth Beijing Opera Troupe, first class qingyi, Zhang school


Liu Wei

Liu Wei (刘薇) – Romance of Chunfa and Qiulian (春秋配), Su San Sent Out Under Guard
Head of Wuhan Beijing Opera Theater, first class dan, Huang school (founded by
Huang Guiqiu)


Deng Min

Deng Min (邓敏) – Turandot (图兰朵), Female Generals of the Yang Family (杨门女将)
China National Peking Opera Company 2nd Troupe, first class dan, Mei school


Li Haiyan

Li Haiyan (李海燕) – Zhu Yingtai Resists Marriage (英台抗婚), The Unicorn Purse (锁麟囊)
Head of China National Peking Opera Company 2nd Troupe, first class qingyi,
Cheng school


Li Jie

Li Jie (李洁) – Tale of the White Snake (白蛇传)
Jiangsu Beijing Opera Theater, first class dan, Mei school


Chi Xiaoqiu

Chi Xiaoqiu (迟小秋) – The Unicorn Purse (锁麟囊), Su San Sent Out Under Guard (苏三起解),
The Unicorn Purse again
Beijing Peking Opera Theater, head of Beijing Peking Opera Theater Youth Troupe,
first class qingyi, Cheng school


Li Shengsu

Li Shengsu (李胜素) – The Unofficial Biography of Taizhen (太真外传), Mu Guiying Takes
Command (穆桂英挂帅), Remorse at Death (生死恨)
Head of China National Peking Opera Company 1st Troupe, first class qingyi,
huashan, Mei school

I hope I haven’t skipped anyone.


Thank you very much, Fern! Now for my own observations

It is apparent that out of make-up, some of these performers clearly struggle hard to hit their notes. Beijing Opera is not easy to sing.

I admit I am more than partial to female singers. Picking a favourite among these performances is like asking a 7 year old what is the best chocolate in a candy store!

I will say that although she was possibly the least photogenic, and did not gesture much, I was most impressed with the POWERFUL voice of Li Haiyan. By the screen shots above you can see the same microphone was used for all the performers and they were all standing at the same distance from it. However Li Haiyan’s voice is the only section in the concert where the microphone buzzes for ten minutes: her voice is too loud! She is a sort of hybrid, a bit of coloratura soprano with a deep voice that carries far, along with great Beijing Opera throat control. This made her a stand out, in my opinion. (Since this was originally posted 4 years ago, I learned Li Haiyan is a member of the first National Troupe, most often partnering with Li Shengsu and Yu Kuizi —  Haiyan is a truly superb artist who has starred in many operas).

Deng Min was the most interesting to look at, obviously a very skilled actress. She much be superb in make-up and costume.

Best dressed was Liu Wei.

Zhao Xiujun is a ringer for Julia Pine, former guitarist of Ottawa punk band Last Prayer. Hi, Julia!

Li Shengsu is not allowed to leave after two tunes, and is chased back on stage to do one more number than the other performers.

The lighting is not optimal in this concert. Nor is the color in the video I think, I played with the video hue and saturation in VLC to get a picture I liked.

The video can be downloaded here.

Enjoy the “Flowers Fragrant” and see you next time !

(update note: here is the original comment for this post)

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks a lot for this concert!I also don’t know much about Li Haiyan, but she’s assigned to the same position (just in 2nd Troupe)as Li Shengsu, I bet the National Peking Opera Company is careful in picking its leaders.I think you hit the nail on its head with the words “most interesting” about Deng Min – previously she learned wusheng and knows two plays with massive splits and leg-over-the-head ligament hurting moves, too bad I never seen her doing those!
    And now she comes up with Turandot. Truly interesting. :)Comment by Fern — May 8, 2011 @ 12:00 am |Edit This

I found an interesting talk show on Shandong TV, 《金声玉振》 Jin Sheng Yu Zhen. Famous artists are interviewed, including many Beijing Opera performers, like Hu Wenge, Xue Yaping and so on.
Here you can find the video set of the program: 

I would like to share one episode here in which Liu Guijuan was invited as guest.  I guess Géza will like it.

Click here to download the video.

Liu Guijuan

Finally succeeded in uploading this!  Here she is, Géza!

Beijing Opera, 2014-05-21《碧玉簪》Biyu Zan (The Green Jade Hairpin) – Liu Guijuan 刘桂娟, Ji Peng 姬鹏, Sun Liying 孙丽英, Liu Yijie 刘轶杰, Liu Shuyun 刘淑云, Ma Liansheng 马连生, Liu Shujun 刘树军

The story for this opera can be found here.

See Fern’s blog here for more info on this series of concerts at the Chang’an Grand Theater in Beijing commemorating the 110th birthday of the old dan master, Cheng Yanqiu.

Click here to download Part 1 of the video

Click here to download Part 2 of the video


Spring Festival

Click here for Part 1 of the video

Click here for Part 2 of the video

Click here for Part 3 of the video

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

Today I found a few items on our DVD recorder, stuck between… less artistic stuff. Nothing essential, but I would like to post a 5 min long retro clip from the 1999 Spring Festival Gala. On TV it looked so fine, but I didn’t want to upload an almost 400MB VOB file that appears stripy on PC monitor, so I better converted and de-interlaced it with Handbrake.


Five beautiful Beijing Opera actresses, plus dozens of elegant dancer girls present a light and colorful song.

Zhang school qingyi Zhang Ping (张萍) as Spring Goddess gives a foot massage, Xun school huadan Geng Qiaoyun (耿巧云) as Summer Goddess invites to a cheerful chatter, Cheng school qingyi Liu Guijuan (刘桂娟) as Autumn Goddess soothes your senses, and Shang school qingyi Zhang Yanling (张艳玲) as Winter Goddess wakes you up before Mei school qingyi Shi Yihong¹ (史依弘) arrives as Lady Moon, Chang’e herself, and offers you a surprise plate full of fried squid and hot dry noodles. And she sings with closed mouth, impressive!

Jing-song《靓丽行》Lianglihang² (Beautiful Woods)

Click here to download the video.

¹Credited as Shi Min.
²Two characters from three have multiple pronunciations and meanings, I went on with the translation that made the most sense to me, please forgive me if it’s not correct.

Liu Guijuan

Liu Guijuan singing an aria from the Unicorn Purse. This is off a concert DVD featuring several performers (I posted a top pick featuring Zhang Huoding quite a while back from the same source). Zach picked out this DVD in China for me. Thanks, Zach!

Am posting this for Géza, who I believe saw Ms. Liu in person and was won over.

Video length is 3:22, file size 100 MB in mp4 format.

Click here to download the video



(originally published on: Jul 23, 2011)(Updated 2013-04-23 to fix broken links)

Shi Yihong


The tropical heat and humidity has followed us all the way home to Quebec City from our vacation in Florida, a rare occurrence, and I find myself writing this post melting in my seat. Tomorrow we are set for rain, and the temperature should drop back down about 10 degrees. Hopefully!

Before leaving on vacation, I found this nice two hour long video while doing hard drive backups with performances from all the top names in Beijing Opera. Fern, who has a terrific blog herself, identified all the artists and songs. It’s great to have Fern helping me out.

You can download the video here. The file format is .RMVB and can be viewed using VLC. File size is 693 MB.

So here is Fern’s cast and song list in italics, with myself adding some odd notes here and there in (regular font):

Zhang Huoding

Zhang Huoding – Jiang Jie (Sister Jiang) (2003)

(There is a video of the complete “Sister Jiang” opera starring Zhang Huoding here).

Shi Yihong

Shi Min (she’s Shi Yihong but here she comes with her former name) – Bawang Bie Ji (Farewell My Concubine) sword dance (2003)

(Shi Yihong is one of the main stars in the spectacular HD opera in three parts “Female Warriors of the Yang Family”.

I found this performance outstanding! Shi Yihong is so convincing in the handling of her swords. Looks so effortless even though there is a lifetime of training involved!

Unless you can read Chinese and know this artist changed her name, there is no way to identify her in the Farewell My Concubine make-up. Bravo Fern!

Also of note here: the nice rolling deep drum.)

Yan Xingpeng

Yan Xingpeng – Liuchu Qishan (Six campaigns from Mount Qi) (1999)
Wikipedia: Zhuge Liang’s Northern Expeditions – In popular history, they overlap with the “six campaigns from Mount Qi” which is inaccurate, since Zhuge Liang only launched his campaigns from Mount Qi twice. Seems Yan Xingpeng is frequently playing Zhuge Liang, 18th here:

(Aha! The TV microphone hidden under the beard is betrayed by a loud plosive.)

Ye Shaolan and Shang Changrong

Ye Shaolan, Shang Changrong – Fei Hu Shan (Flying Tiger Hill) (1999)
You can read the story here.
These two individuals are so good together.

(People not familiar with Beijing Opera should probably not start here, Ye Shaolan’s singing will sound very special to western ears. Question to Fern: is Shang Changrong playing the tiger?)

(update) Fern responded by finding this screen shot of the actual “tiger” in the opera:


Sun Yumin
Sun Yumin – The Tale of Huo Xiaoyu (1999)
Sun Yumin is direct disciple of Xun Huisheng, one of the “4 great dan actor”.

(The story: poet Li Yi 李益 (748 – 829) abandons his lover, the prostitute Huo Xiaoyu, in favour of an honourable marriage. Still madly in love with him, she is unable to greet her clients and falls into misery. She dies in despair in front of him during a banquet. Her ghost then haunts the young man, bringing the curse of jealousy on him. Li Yi’s wife, who comes from a good family, divorces him. His manic jealousy drives him insane and he marries repeatedly, in vain.

This excerpt has a couple of microphone glitches, I’m surprised it was kept by the producers.

Also of note: red is the color of marriage. Notice the intense performance. It’s madness, I tell you!)

Du Zhenjie

Du Zhenjie – Huaihe Ying (Camp at Huai River) (1999)

Sun Wei

Sun Wei (Shanghai Chinese Opera Academy) – Sanjia Dian (Sanjia Inn) (2001)

Xu Ying

Xu Ying (National Chinese Opera Academy) Wenzhao Guan (The Zhao Pass) (2001)

Wan Lin

Wan Lin (Tianjin Chinese Opera Academy) – Silang Tan Mu (Silang Visits his Mother) (2001)

Wang Zi

Wang Zi (Beijing Chinese Opera Academy) – Dingjun Shan (Dingjun Mountain)

Yuan Huiqin

Yuan Huiqin – Yangmen Nü Jiang (Female Generals of the Yang Family) (2001)

Zhang Huoding

Zhang Huoding, Song Xiaochuan – Chun Gui Meng (Dream in a Girl’s Chamber)

(I keep repeating, Zhang Huoding is my favorite Beijing opera performer bar none, the video of this complete opera is here and one of our top picks is another breathtaking excerpt from this opera. I’m such a fan this excerpt alone is excuse enough to post the whole video, although I really have to admit this is not a particularly memorable clip).

Diao Li and Yu Kuizhi

Diao Li, Yu Kuizhi – Zuo Gong (Sitting in the Palace) (2001)
You can buy a CD of Diao Li here.

(I was fooled for a moment, I thought it was Li Shengsu, right up to the point where her voice cracks noticeably. And no, it wasn’t the microphone. I am shamed.

Yu is Yu. Simply the best at what he does.)

Tan Yuanshou, Tan Xiaoceng, Tan Zhengyan

Tan Yuanshou, Tan Xiaoceng, Tan Zhengyan – Dingjun Shan (Dingjun Mountain)
Tan Fuying’s descendants.

(Nice Chinese mandolin. Trio singing together is definitely not Verdi.)

Marriage material Li Haiyan

Li Shiji, Li Haiyan, Liu Guijuan – Suo Lin Nang (The Unicorn Purse) (2001)

(The reference “top pick” video of the complete Unicorn Purse starring Zhang Huoding is here.

This is a typical “three different generations of singers” setup. I like Li Haiyan here — I’m so predictable, sigh. )

Li Haiyan

Li Haiyan, Liu Guijuan – Concubine Meifei (2001)
The Emperor drops Guifei for Meifei on that notorious night in Drunken Concubine.

(Li Haiyan sings here briefly with her characteristic deep rich voice and exquisite control).

judge and old woman

Zhao Baoxiu, Meng Guanglu – Chisang Zhen (Red Mulberry Village) (2001)
Hahaha, we just watched the exact same excerpt a few days ago with my man. He asked, “Why is the old woman beating the judge?” Bao Zheng is the first Beijing opera character he recognizes. Tremendous achievement!

(Tricked again, it took me a second look to make sure that wasn’t Yuan Huiqin. Let’s just blame it on the heat and leave it at that.

Wikipedia has an interesting article on Bao Zheng here; in Chinese fiction, Bao Zheng has become a sort of historical crime detective character).

Li Jie

Li Jie – Tiannü San Hua (Heavenly Goddess Scattering Flowers) (2002)

(It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

I checked Fern’s blog and didn’t find anything on this singer. She hits some nice high notes here.)

jinghu solo

Zhao Jianhua – Chenlian (Morning excercise) (jinghu solo)

(The jinghu solo segues into an acrobatics segment performed by children.)

Mu Yu

Mu Yu (Beijing Chinese Opera Academy, laosheng, 13 yrs) – Huaihe Ying (Camp at Huai River) (2002)
I really liked this boy. His appearance so fits this role. (Edit: Meanwhile the grown up Mu Yu became one of my favorites.)

Lü Yisha

Lü Yisha (Beijing Chinese Opera Academy, female hualian, 11 yrs) – Suo Wu Long (Meeting Death with Ease) (2002)
Wow. A little girl.

Yu Yang

Yu Yang (Beijing Chinese Opera Academy, laosheng, 11 yrs) – Silang Visits His Mother (2002)

Wang Yu

Wang Yu (Beijing Chinese Opera Academy, laosheng, 10 yrs) – Dingjun Shan (Dingjun Mountain) (2002)

Wang Wenduan

Wang Wenduan (Beijing Chinese Opera Academy, female laosheng, 9 yrs) – Yuanmen Zhan Zi (Beheading the Son At the Camp’s Gate) (2002)

Shi Yihong

Shi Min (Shi Yihong) – Xi Shi (2002)

(Perfect time to sip a cup of jasmine tea.)

Zhang Huoding

Zhang Huoding – Da Deng Dian (The Great Enthronement) (2002)

(Collector instinct kicking in. “Must… find… a…video…of…this…complete…opera.” Zhang Huoding in an uncharacteristic role, her voice not in absolutely top form. Still, certainly one of the finest opera singers alive on the planet today.)

Yu Kuizhi

Yu Kuizhi – Zhuo Fang Cao (Capturing and Releasing Cao Cao) (2002)

(This costume looks like a cheap polyester costume shop deal. Why no embroidery? Yu does it honor in any case, he is terrific in the intro, garnering hand claps. He really shines at this kind of slower tempo aria, one can appreciate the reedy quality of his voice… The mind wanders and the body relaxes. Wonderful.)

Dong Yuanyuan

Dong Yuanyuan – Shang Wei (Mu Guiying Guashuai or “Mu Guiying Takes Command)
Dong Yuanyuan is my favourite Mei school actress.

(Fern is up on me, I don’t know this singer very well.)

Li Jun

Li Jun – Sha Qiao Jianbie (Farewell Dinner at Sandy Bridge) (2004)

(Li Jun has failed to hook me in so far. His red cape is hiding the nice embroidery on his costume.)

Deng Muwei

Deng Muwei – Yao Qi (2004)

Song Xiaochuan and Diao Li

Diao Li, Song Xiaochuan – Feng Huan Chao (Return of the Phoenix to the Nest) (2004)
Young Xiaochuan (left), gained some weight since then, hehe:
young Song Xiaochuan

(Song is actually lean and mean in this clip, he’s plumper these days. As they say in Hungarian, “Trr-rrragédia”. )

Geng Qichang

Geng Qichang – Er Tang She Zi (Sacrificing the Second Son) (2004)
Yang, Yu school laosheng, Li Weikang’s husband. One of the most appreciated figures of contemporary Bejing Opera.

That’s all, folks.


(originally published on: May 4, 2010)

The title is “Go West” (literally “Going to the West Gate”) or “Zou Xi Kou” in Chinese.

This opera tells a story of a Shanxi businessman, who valued his business reputation and successfully expanded his business in Russia.
The story is as follows. Chang Yuqiao, a Shanxi businessman, receives a board with inscriptions saying “Gain Frame by Deceiving the Public” and a bottle of fake sesame oil. After discovering that the assistant manager (“vice manager”) of his shop cheated consumers, he fires that assistant manager, buys back the sesame oil sold from his shop at a high price, and then consignes all the oil to the flames.
He signs a contract with Russian businessmen and then sends a caravan to Russia. Unfortunately, his caravan is robbed by bandits and his men killed. In the most difficult time, he still decides to fulfill the order with the Russians.

Go West
Performed by Beijing Opera Troupe of Shanxi Province, Beijing Opera Troupe of China, Academy of Chinese Traditional Opera.
Executive Directors: Yang Bo, Cheng Baode. Executive Producers: Shen Weichen, Gao Jianmin

Producers: Wu Jiang, Du Changsheng, Dou Mingsheng

Featuring the magnificent Yu Kuizhi in the truly expressive role of the businessman.

LI Shehgsu playing ZHONG Xue’er

YUAN Huiqin playing the old lady

LIU Guijuan playing LIU Hanyu

This is the biggest file I have posted so far, but this is also the most lavish production I’ve posted as well. The costumes and sets are top notch, the video picture and sound are great. This is an .RMVB extension file playable in VLC, size is just under 700 MB.

I’m trying to discourage indexing spider programs from killing my blog’s bandwidth quota, so this time I’m going to get you to jump through a hoop in order to download the file. You’ll see, it’s pretty painless.

To download the video, click here.

That’s all, except, “Enjoy!”

Big time thank you once again to Zach for his translations and the sharing of his knowledge.

Zach also really surprised me with the following link which indicates this very opera is playing in Beijing in two days.

Wish I could be there!

Anyhow, I am reproducing the page above here in italics:

Peking Opera: Going to the West Gate
Presenter: Shanxi Peking Opera Theatre
Lead Cast: Yu Kuizhi, Li Shengsu, Yuan Huiqin, Liu Guijuan, Zhu Qiang, etc.
Venue: Theatre
Dates: May 06-08, 2010 19:30
Price: VIP 380 280 180 120 80 RMB

Programme Introduction
Taking the story of the Chang’s, a renowned Shanxi merchant family, as its background, the Peking Opera, Going to the West Gate, tells about the honest business operation and deeds of friendship and brotherhood of the Shanxi businessmen in the Qing Dynasty. The entire grand performance expresses the vast and profound integrity and moral principles and displays the essence and meaning of the Shanxi business culture with loud and sonorous singing full of passion. The cast, among others, of Yu Kuizhi, Li Sheng Su, Yuan Huiqin, Liu Guijuan and Zhu Qiang are also welcomed warmly by the audience.The music prototype of the opera Going to the West Gate is folk tune widely popular in Shaanxi, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and northern Hebei Province. Through the organic integration of Peking Opera and Shanxi folk music, the melody of Going to the West Gate is more mildly pleasant and more beautiful and the performance is more visually and artistically enjoyable.
At the end of the Kangxi Period, Qing Dynasty, the General Manager of Jindeyu, Chang Yuqiao, who was resolved to open trade routes with Russia, went home to celebrate his mother’s birthday. Unexpectedly, someone sent a black tablet, on which was engraved with “phony”, and adulterated sesame oil during the birthday banquet. Taking integrity as important as his life, Chang Yuqiao, regardless of the family reunion, immediately returned to the Shacheng head office to find out what was behind the incident.

He resolutely drove out the Vice Manager, Shi Dunzi, who adulterated the commodities. Chang recovered the adulterated sesame oil at high price and burned all the oil in flames. In difficult times, Chang Yuqiao often called on Zhong Xue’er to give her insight into the whole situation. Having rich experience in doing business with Russia, Xue’er came up with plans and strategies, and braved to lead the camel team on their business journey to the North filled with sand.

Unexpectedly, they were confronted with bandits and robbers, and experienced injury and death on their way. But the delivery date signed with Russia was imminent. Faced with tense situation of shortage of funds, unstable shareholders, separated brothers, widespread rumors, the Shanxi merchants and their families spared courageously no effort to support the great cause of the business journey to the North.

The Shanxi people finally won people’s hearts with “sincerity” and “righteousness”. They reversed the situation and opened up the passage of trade with Russia, which promoted the signing of Kyakhta Treaty on Sino-Russian border trade by the Qing government and the Tsarist Russian government, leaving a glorious page in the history of China’s economic and trade development.

Shanxi Peking Opera Theatre
Shanxi Peking Opera Theatre was formerly known as the Tianjin Red Wind Peking Opera Troupe, and then moved to Shanxi in 1956 and renamed Taiyuan Peking Opera Troupe. It was renamed Peking Opera Troupe of Shanxi Province in 1968 and then expanded and renamed Shanxi Peking Opera Theatre in 1992.

From 1960s to 1980s, a large number of outstanding graduates from China’s traditional opera schools joined the troupe. Through great cooperation with the older generation of artists, they have gradually become the backbone for the development of Peking Opera in Shanxi. Ren Xiuyun, Cao fosheng, Chen Zhiqing and Zhao Kunxiang have been active in Shanxi stage for more than 30 years and enjoyed good fame in the ancient city .In 1990s, a new group of young artists joined the troupe and have make Shanxi exert significant influence on the nationwide development of Peking Opera. In 1996, headed by Li Shengsu, disciple of the Mei School, the Mei Lanfang Youth Peking Opera Ensemble was established, setting off a wave of revitalization of Shanxi Peking Opera.

The ensemble has enjoyed a long-standing reputation for “Performing Old Plays in New Ways and Always Performing New Plays”. Besides reviving the excellent traditional plays such as The Story of Su San, Jinyu Nu, Silang Visits His Mother and Farewell My Concubine etc, the ensemble has also concentrated on creating new plays. In 1981, the opera Chamber of Bliss, which depicts the famous revolutionary general Cai Er, participated in the commemoration performance of the 70th Anniversary of 1911 Revolution held in Nanjing. It rocked both Nanjing and Beijing, and won the Elite Award for Outstanding Plays. In 1992, the historical story drama Meng Lijun took part in the New National Youth Peking Opera Troupes (Teams) Selection Performance and won the Performance Award by the Ministry of Culture. In 1995 the newly adapted historical story drama Golden Dale Garden in Ruins took part in the First China Peking Opera Art Festival and was awarded the Performance Prize. In 1998, the newly adapted historical story drama Big-feet Queen won the Outstanding Play Award in the Second China Peking Opera Art Festival. In addition, plays such as Sea Oath describing Zheng Chenggong, Colored Ribbon Pearl depicting the Sino-Japanese friendship, Gao Junyu and Shi Pingmei in honor of revolutionary pioneers, Where Shepherd Boy Points to describing the apricot Fenjiu liquor, as well as Wind and Rain in Dragon Town in praise of clean and honest cadres, are given favorable comments by people from all circles.

I wanted to mention in closing that the .RMVB file format is hard to fast forward in VLC. I’ve read that this is probably due to corrupted frames. There are none noticeable in this video, but I did try three different “RMVB File Fixer” softwares on this file as well as others to see if they could be improved. My experience is that none work well at all.

As a final technical note, this file was downloaded through peer-to-peer aMule on Linux. Let me ask you: have you ever had trouble downloading a torrent because it disappears after a few days? I haven’t encountered this since starting to download Peking Operas from China. Chinese opera lovers are DEDICATED! Yes, it’s slow going, but the files remain available week after week. I love Chinese Opera fans, they are the best.