Sat 6 Aug 2011
Posted by Bertrand under Chi Xiaoqiu 迟小秋, Deng Min 邓敏, Favorite performers, Full length concerts, Jingju / Beijing Opera / Peking Opera 京剧, Li Guojing 李国静, Li Haiyan 李海燕, Li Jie 李洁, Li Shengsu 李胜素, Liu Guijuan 刘桂娟, Liu Wei 刘薇, Lü Huimin 吕慧敏, Re-posted, Zhang Huifang 张慧芳, Zhang Ping 张萍, Zhang Yanling 张艳玲, Zhao Xiujun 赵秀君
(originally published on: May 7, 2011)(Updated 2013-04-23 to fix broken links)
Today I am presenting a 2 1/2 hour concert featuring several exciting female singers from China, all performing Chinese opera 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 who has a terrific blog on Peking Opera in English of her own and which I check daily.
All kinds of flowers are fragrant
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 (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 (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 (张慧芳) – 2 excerpts from Xie Yaohuan (谢瑶环)
Hubei Beijing Opera Theater, first class qingyi, huashan, Zhang school
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 (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 (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
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 (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,
Li Jie (李洁) – Tale of the White Snake (白蛇传)
Jiangsu Beijing Opera Theater, first class dan, Mei school
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 (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 partial to female singers (update note: that’s an understatement), so 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. I don’t know anything else about her.
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.
Enjoy the “Flowers Fragrant” and see you next time !
(update note: here is the original comment for this post)