Shi Yihong 史依弘


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.

A nice article in English about the “crossover queen” here.

Farewell My Concubine

Hello,

Because of the movie of the same name, here is a Beijing Opera that most western audiences have heard about. It is totally unfair to the play, however, to watch the movie before seeing this as Director Chen Kaige’s film is a brutal tragedy that is, in my humble opinion, overtly hostile to Beijing Opera if only because it systematically dwells on all the historically bad points of its rigorous training and lifestyle. If you have not seen the movie, be warned it features children being maimed, beaten to death, and sexually assaulted and that deep human betrayal is one of its central themes (if not its main theme).

The story of the original play, from Wikipedia:

Farewell My Concubine (Chinese: 霸王别姬, Pinyin: “Ba Wang Bie Ji”) is a Chinese Peking Opera. A more literal translation of the Chinese title is The Hegemon King says Farewell to his Queen.

The play tells the story of Xiang Yu, the self-styled “Hegemon-King of Western Chu” who battled for the unification of China with Liu Bang, the eventual founder of the Han Dynasty. In the play, Xiang Yu is surrounded by Liu Bang’s forces and on the verge of total defeat, so he calls forth his horse and begs it to run away for the sake of its own safety. The horse refuses, against his wishes. He then calls for the company of his favorite concubine, Consort Yu (aka Yuji). Realizing the dire situation that has befallen them, she begs to die alongside her master, but he strongly refuses this wish. Afterwards, as he is distracted, Yu commits suicide with Xiang Yu’s sword.

This staging from 2011-06-07 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre sounds very different than what I am used to with plays staged in Beijing. More natural hall reverb aside, it seems lead actor Law Kar-ying has brought his musicians from Taiwan. Everything sounds different, both in string instruments, and percussion. The “striding” gongs and wood blocks are quite unfamiliar and often sound like metal garbage can tops. Also, I’m not 100% sure the musicians are using entirely traditional instruments, there is a suspiciously MIDI-sounding muted chord instrument in there. There is also what sounds like a rock band ride cymbal from time to time. I would have liked to see the orchestra, but they were hidden away. [We do get a brief glimpse of two players near the climax of Part 2.]

Here is Shi Yihong, one of the very top names in Beijing Opera today, in a cultural exchange experiment and in a costume and makeup that do not flatter her, singing in a style that is not her own. In the past, she has triumphed in Shanghai, then conquered Beijing, has done modern orchestral experiments and strayed into Cheng Unicorn territory. But is she versatile enough for this? Certainly. In she walks at the very opening of the play, voice fully warmed up and at 34:50, she wows the upper scale Hong Kong audience with a sustained note that demonstrates she is in top form.

I’m very unfamiliar with Taiwanese opera, and have not heard of Law Kar-ying before. He has a very good voice and decisive, fluid free-flowing movement. Not as stiff as the Beijing style, his acting comes across as more realistic to my eyes.

The play is under an hour long and is very low on surprises. This staging seems to have forgotten all about horsies. I dare say Shi Yihong’s extended and spectacular sword handling routine in the opening of part 2 saves the show from being tedious!

Shi Yihong helicopter

In the end, Consort Yu’s death is anticlimactic.

This rather old fashioned story of undying love was, I think, freely subverted by film Director Chen Kaige who seems to have been asking us instead, “What if Yuji had been betrayed by Xiang Yu and their love had not been so pure? What then?

In conclusion, this particular video is interesting (perhaps for the wrong reasons), a bit odd, and quite short.

Thank you to Fern for sending it my way!

Enjoy!

Click here to download part 1

Click here to download part 2

Happy Lunar New Year! Here are the videos I promised.

The Spring Festival Chinese Opera Gala of CCTV4 was a severely edited version, however, two excerpts appear only in this shorter edition, namely Chen Shaoyun’s costumeless Chasing Han Xin and Zhu Qiang’s Ganlu Temple. Both performers are my huge favorites, so I’m really grateful to the editor.
I converted the video to mp4 format with Handbrake, using the deinterlacing filter. Of course the original files are much better, but huge-ish (7GB) and best viewed on TV.

I downloaded the full version from the CNTV site, it comes in five parts. The screenshots below show the quality, I think it’s not bad. Five hours total, so don’t forget to pile up dumplings and soft drinks on your TV table if you’re adventurous enough to watch it in one go.

There are two bonus clips too, from the CCTV Spring Festival Gala: a performance by amateur jingju artists, including the adorable kid Duoduo (Li Peize), and a clip titled “New Drunken Concubine” – can you believe this elegant Guifei is actually a handsome boy?

Downloads:

CCTV4 Spring Festival Chinese Opera Gala highlights edition part1
CCTV4 Spring Festival Chinese Opera Gala highlights edition part2
(mp4, 720×576)

CCTV Spring Festival Chinese Opera Gala full version
(rar, 480×360)

CCTV Spring Festival Gala amateur performers’ scene
《戏迷一家亲》 ”Theater fans are one big family”
– Sanjiadian – Gao Changzhi (高长志)
– Mu Guiying Takes Command – Zhang Jie (张杰)
– Xu Ce Runs to the City Walls – Li Peize (李沛泽)
– Beheading Chen Shimei - Li Zelin (李泽林)
(VOB, 720×576)

Bonus clip
《新贵妃醉酒》Xin Guifei Zuijiu (New Drunken Concubine) – Li Yugang (李玉刚)
(VOB, 720×576)

I’m an unconditional Duoduo fan, that’s just natural he was my favorite from the show. I’m daring to say he grabbed the spirit of this character more firmly than some of the adult performers, what’s more, he’s a bit different every time, not just repeating the same performance as a robot. He appears in both the Chinese Opera Gala and the “plain” Gala, unfortunately the cameraman of the latter had a keen sense to zoom out or show the audience when a close-up of the kid was needed.
Li Zelin as underage Judge Bao was also very cute.


Duoduo as Xu Ce

Yuan Huiqin chose her excerpt wisely: the role of an armored elderly female warrior suits her much better than the miserable old lady of Golden Tortoise Fishing what she performed at the Shanghai Spring Festival concert this week. She’s not that typical old and slow-moving laodan…

I was happy that Dong Yuanyuan, my favorite Mei qingyi had the opportunity to show us her Drunken Concubine, and Li Shengsu was popularizing Female Generals of the Yangs instead.

The Red Cliff trio was excellent – and surprise of surprises, this time I liked Zhang Jianfeng more than Jin Xiquan.

Maybe Zhao Xiujun isn’t the most beautiful Zhang school qingyi of all times, and not as grandiose as Wang Rongrong, but I still like her artistic approach.


Zhao Xiujun

I don’t listen to Henan opera very often, but Li Shujian is mind-blowing, seemingly he doesn’t have to make extraordinary efforts to sing like that. I bet he will get a third Plum Blossom Award one time.

I already elaborated on in my own blog that something isn’t right about Yu Kuizhi nowadays… at least I feel so. Maybe his appointment as vice-president is too much of a burden, or he simply reached his limits, I don’t know. This time he came with an excerpt from Shang Tian Tai – there are plays he’s more an expert of, moreover, where is that sparkle in the eyes? There was a point when I thought he will fall asleep. I’m really, really disappointed, and sad as well.

Yan (Jupeng) school laosheng Chen Shengjie represents a style you don’t hear often, and he’s really good. His Zhuge Liang was so… Zhuge Liang-ish. I mean this is exactly how I imagine someone whose head is full of stratagems and serious thoughts.


Chen Shengjie

Li Baochun definitely has his own style, which couldn’t sweep me off my feet like his father’s did, but yet he’s fun to watch and Chang Qiuyue is one of my preferences – this duet was lovely.


Li Fengjie and Emperor Zhengde – men never change. Women never change.

Highlight of the show: Li Jun finally got rid of his metal kitchen scrubber-like hair that was a laughingstock of the public for way too long. Actually for the sake of a new play (also featuring Xiong Mingxia, I’ll upload it later), but the change is welcome.

And many more, many more. Enjoy!

Tracklist (highlights edition):

  • 开场舞蹈《龙腾盛世》
    Opening dance stage “Flourishing Age of the Dragon”
  • 京剧《珠帘寨》选段 表演:马 力、蓝天、傅希如
    jingju Pearl Screen Fort (Ma Li, Lan Tian, Fu Xiru)
  • 京剧《花田错》选段 表演:张佳春、唐禾香
    jingju Mistake at the Flower Field (Zhang Guichun, Tang Hexiang)
  • 豫剧《大登殿》选段 表演:李树建
    Henan opera The Great Enthronement (Li Shujian)
  • 评剧《花为媒》选段 表演:曾昭娟
    pingju Hua Wei Mei (Zeng Zhaojuan)
  • 河北梆子《穆桂英挂帅》选段 表演:许荷英
    Hebei bangzi Mu Guiying Takes Command (Xu Heying)
  • 相声《送年戏》 表演:何云伟、李菁
    comic sketch introducing different folk singing styles (He Yunwei, Li Jing)
  • 京剧《贵妃醉酒》选段 表演:董圆圆
    jingju The Drunken Concubine (Dong Yuanyuan)
  • 京剧《对花枪》选段 表演:袁慧琴
    jingju The Matching Spears (Yuan Huiqin)
  • 京剧《孙安动本》选段 表演:倪茂才
    jingju Sun An Dong Ben (Ni Maocai)
  • 京剧《大登殿》选段 表演:迟小秋
    jingju The Great Enthronement (Chi Xiaoqiu)
  • 京剧《上天台》选段 表演:于魁智
    jingju Ascending the Heavenly Altar (Yu Kuizhi)
  • 川剧《春夜喜雨》选段 表演:陈巧茹
    Sichuan opera Spring Night Welcome Rain (Chen Qiaoru)
  • 越剧《何文秀》选段 表演:萧雅
    Shaoxing opera He Wenxiu (Xiao Ya)
  • 黄梅戏《满山杜鹃》选段 表演:吴琼
    Huangmei opera Cuckoo of Manshan (Wu Qiong)
  • 京剧《赤壁》选段 表演:王越、张建峰、金喜全
    jingju Red Cliff (Wang Yue, Zhang Jianfeng, Jin Xiquan)
  • 京剧《沙桥饯别》选段 表演:王珮瑜
    jingju Farewell Dinner at Sandy Bridge (Wang Peiyu)
  • 京剧《甘露寺》选段 表演:朱强
    jingju Ganlu Temple (Zhu Qiang)
  • 京剧《太真外传》选段 表演:史依弘
    jingju Unofficial Biography of Taizhen (Shi Yihong)
  • 京剧《姚期》选段 表演:孟广禄
    jingju Yao Qi (Meng Guanglu)
  • 京剧《捉放曹》选段 表演:杨乃彭
    jingju Capturing and Releasing Cao Cao (Yang Naipeng)
  • 京剧《萧何月下追韩信》选段 表演:陈少云
    jingju Xiao He Chasing Han Xin Under the Moonlight (Chen Shaoyun)
  • 高甲戏《金龙焕彩》选段 表演:福建晋江高甲戏剧院
    Gaojia opera Brilliant Golden Dragon (Jinjiang (Fujian) Gaojia Opera Troupe)
  • 京歌《难忘今宵》 表演:丁晓君、张馨月、唐禾香、张佳春、吴昊颐、王润菁
    Beijing opera song This Night is Unforgettable (Ding Xiaojun, Zhang Xinyue, Tang Hexiang, Zhang Jiachun, Wu Haoyi, Wang Runjing

Tracklist (full edition):

  • 开场舞蹈《龙腾盛世》
    Opening dance stage “Flourishing Age of the Dragon”
  • 京剧《珠帘寨》选段 表演:马 力、蓝天、傅希如
    jingju Pearl Screen Fort (Ma Li, Lan Tian, Fu Xiru)
  • 京剧《花田错》选段 表演:张佳春、唐禾香
    jingju Mistake at the Flower Field (Zhang Guichun, Tang Hexiang)
  • 京剧《战北原》选段 表演:陈圣杰
    jingju Battle of Bei Yuan (Chen Shengjie)
  • 京剧《将相和》选段 表演:谭正岩、方旭
    jingju The Minister and The General Reconcile (Tan Zhengyan, Fang Xu)
  • 京剧《诗文会》选段 表演:赵秀君
    jingju Meeting by Poetry (Zhao Xiujun)
  • 京剧《沙桥饯别》选段 表演:王珮瑜
    jingju Farewell Dinner at Sandy Bridge (Wang Peiyu)
  • 豫剧《大登殿》选段 表演:李树建
    Henan opera The Great Enthronement (Li Shujian)
  • 评剧《花为媒》选段 表演:曾昭娟
    pingju Hua Wei Mei (Zeng Zhaojuan)
  • 1河北梆子《穆桂英挂帅》选段 表演:许荷英
    Hebei bangzi Mu Guiying Takes Command (Xu Heying)
  • 相声《送年戏》 表演:何云伟、李菁
    comic sketch (He Yunwei, Li Jing)
  • 京剧《贵妃醉酒》选段 表演:董圆圆
    jingju The Drunken Concubine (Dong Yuanyuan)
  • 京剧《对花枪》选段 表演:袁慧琴
    jingju The Matching Spears (Yuan Huiqin)
  • 京剧《孙安动本》选段 表演:倪茂才
    jingju Sun An Dong Ben (Ni Maocai)
  • 京剧《大登殿》选段 表演:迟小秋
    jingju The Great Enthronement (Chi Xiaoqiu)
  • 京剧《坐寨》选段 表演:杨赤
    jingju Sitting in the Camp (Yang Chi)
  • 京剧《金水桥》选段 表演:张艳玲
    jingju Golden Water Bridge (Zhang Yanling)
  • 戏曲小品《真假包龙图》  表演:朱世慧、王嘉庆、李泽琳、王越
    Chinese Opera skit Bao Zheng Examines the Dragon Image (Zhu Shihui, Wang Jiaqing, Li Zelin, Wang Yue)
  • 高甲戏《金龙焕彩》选段 表演:福建晋江高甲戏剧院
    Gaojia opera Brilliant Golden Dragon (Jinjiang (Fujian) Gaojia Opera Troupe)
  • 越剧《何文秀》选段 表演:萧雅
    Shaoxing opera He Wenxiu (Xiao Ya)
  • 黄梅戏《满山杜鹃》选段 表演:吴琼
    Huangmei opera Cuckoo of Manshan (Wu Qiong)
  • 昆曲《红楼梦•宝黛初见》选段 表演:邵天帅、施夏明、朱冰贞、翁佳慧
    kunqu Dream of Red Mansions – The First Meeting (Shao Tianshuai, Shi Xiaming, Zhu Bingzhen, Weng Jiahui)
  • 京剧《梅龙镇》选段 表演:李宝春(中国台湾)、常秋月
    jingju Meilong Village (Li Baochun, Chang Qiuyue)
  • 京剧《武家坡》选段 表演:谭孝曾、魏海敏(中国台湾)
    jingju Wujiapo (Tan Xiaozeng, Wei Haimin)
  • 京剧《孟母三迁》选段 表演:吴汝俊
    jingju Mencius’ Mother Relocates Three Times (Wu Rujun)
  • 少儿京剧联唱
    kiddy jingju:
    - 京剧《野猪林》选段 表演:姜舒源
    jingju Wildboar Forest (Jiang Shuyuan)
    - 京剧《穆桂英挂帅》选段 表演:赵跃然
    jingju Mu Guiying Takes Command (Zhao Yueran)
    - 京剧《天女散花》选段 表演:王萌
    jingju Heavenly Maiden Showering Flowers (Wang Meng)
    - 京剧《徐策跑城》选段 表演:李佩泽
    jingju Xu Ce Runs to the City Walls (Li Peize)
  • 戏曲小品《龙妈招亲》 表演:徐孟珂、金不换、威廉、玛利亚等
    Chinese Opera skit Mother Dragon Invites the Groom (Xu Mengke, Jin Buhuan, William, Mary etc.)
  • 京剧《龙凤呈祥》选段 表演:吕 洋 、吴昊颐、张馨月
    jingju Harmony Through a Royal Marriage (Lü Yang, Wu Haoyi, Zhang Xinyue)
  • 京剧《草船借箭》选段 表演:陈少云、朱强
    jingju Boating to Borrow Arrows (Chen Shaoyun, Zhu Qiang)
  • 京剧《捉放曹》选段 表演:杨乃彭
    jingju Capturing and Releasing Cao Cao (Yang Naipeng)
  • 京剧《赤壁》选段 表演:王越、张建峰、金喜全
    jingju Red Cliff (Wang Yue, Zhang Jianfeng, Jin Xiquan)
  • 京剧《太真外传》选段 表演:史依弘
    jingju Unofficial Biography of Taizhen (Shi Yihong)
  • 京剧《洪洋洞》选段 表演:张克
    jingju Hongyang Cave (Zhang Ke)
  • 京剧《八珍汤》选段 表演:赵葆秀、翟墨、黄丽珠
    jingju Eight Treasure Decoction (Zhao Baoxiu, Zhai Mo, Huang Lizhu)
  • 京剧《双投唐》选段 表演:安 平、张建峰
    jingju Shuang Tou Tang (An Ping, Zhang Jianfeng)
  • 京剧《三家店》选段 表演:耿其昌
    jingju Sanjia Inn (Geng Qichang)
  • 京剧《望江亭》选段 表演:王蓉蓉
    jingju Riverside Pavilion (Wang Rongrong)
  • 京剧《姚期》选段 表演:孟广禄
    jingju Yao Qi (Meng Guanglu)
  • 京剧《汉苏武》选段 表演:张建国、郭霄
    jingju Han Su Wu (Zhang Jianguo, Guo Xiao)
  • 京剧《赤壁》选段 表演:李宏图、窦晓璇
    jingju Red Cliff (Li Hongtu, Dou Xiaoxuan)
  • 京剧《下鲁城》选段 表演:杜镇杰
    jingju Battle of Lucheng (Du Zhenjie)
  • 京剧《大漠昭君》选段 表演:姜亦姗
    jingju Zhaojun of the Desert (Jiang Yishan)
  • 川剧《春夜喜雨》选段 表演:陈巧茹
    Sichuan opera Spring Night Welcome Rain (Chen Qiaoru)
  • 秦腔《彩楼配》选段 表演:李军梅
    Qinqiang Match Made at the Colorful Tower (Li Junmei)
  • 沪剧《庵堂相会》选段 表演:钱思剑
    Shanghai opera Meeting in the Nunnery (Qian Sijian)
  • 二人台《挂红灯》选段 表演:许美珍、蒙吉珍
    Inner Mongolian folk duet Watching the Lanterns (Xu Meizhen, Meng Jizhen)
  • 相声《学唱现代戏》 表演:陈印泉、侯振鹏
    comic sketch Let’s Learn to Sing Modern Opera (Chen Yinquan, Hou Zhenpeng)
  • 京剧《黛诺》选段 表演:李维康
    jingju Dai Nuo (Li Weikang)
  • 京剧《杜鹃山》选段 表演:王润菁
    jingju Cuckoo Mountain (Wang Runjing)
  • 京剧《红色娘子军》选段  表演:丁晓君
    jingju Red Detachment of Women (Ding Xiaojun)
  • 戏曲小品《五帅闯西天》 表演:宋宁、谢楠、魏嘉艺、杨松、何军、大牛(英国)
    Chinese Opera skit Five Generals Take the Western Paradise (Song Ning, Xie Nan, Wei Jiayi, Yang Song, He Jun, Daniel (UK))
  • 京剧《坐宫》选段 表演:李军、林林
    jingju Sitting in the Palace (Li Jun, Lin Lin)
  • 京剧《凤还巢》选段 表演:包飞、兰海皎
    jingju The Phoenix Returns to the Nest (Bao Fei, Lan Haijiao)
  • 京剧《状元媒》选段 表演:薛亚萍
    jingju Top Scholar as Matchmaker (Xue Yaping)
  • 京剧《锁麟囊》选段 表演:李佩红
    The Unicorn Purse (Li Peihong)
  • 京剧《杨门女将》选段 表演:李胜素
    jingju Female Generals of the Yangs (Li Shengsu)
  • 京剧《上天台》选段 表演:于魁智
    jingju Ascending the Heavenly Altar (Yu Kuizhi)
  • 京剧武戏集锦  表演:阎虹羽、冯蕴、杨亚男等
    Jingju wuxi Best Of (Yan Hongyu, Feng Yun, Yang Yanan etc.)
  • 京歌《难忘今宵》 表演:丁晓君、张馨月、唐禾香、张佳春、吴昊颐、王润菁
    Beijing opera song This Night is Unforgettable (Ding Xiaojun, Zhang Xinyue, Tang Hexiang, Zhang Jiachun, Wu Haoyi, Wang Runjing)

  

There’s an anecdote in Beijing Opera circles about Mei Lanfang. Once he mentioned to one of his disciples, Yan Huizhu (言慧珠), how suitable the role of Esmeralda would be for her. However, Yan Huizhu never had the opportunity to rehearse The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, and Esmeralda turned into a long-cherished dream-role of Mei school followers.

Yielding under the constant pressure from high-profile Mei school qingyi Shi Yihong, a young dramatist, Feng Gang (冯钢) finally adapted the famous novel to a Bejing Opera, titled Notre Dame. Victor Hugo’s character Esmeralda appears in the jingju version as Aiya, portrayed by Shi Yihong, of course.
Quasimodo’s name was changed to Chounu (lit. “ugly slave”), and promising young actor Dong Hongsong, who not so long ago was honored with Shanghai’s Foundation for Talents of Literature and Art Award, got the opportunity to play the role.


No traditional jingju undergarment needed
Photo: 狠老虎不喂

As hopeless procrastinator I haven’t finished this post until now, but I don’t mind it at all, I tell you why.

The first version of this play I saw was a 2010 staging that Bertrand sent to me several months ago. He knew well I’ll be very enthusiastic, because the gullible and lecherous Tian Hao is played by my idol, Shanghai’s leading xiaosheng Jin Xiquan. For a change, in the video Tian Hao is laosheng role, so Jin Xiquan uses his normal voice.

In the meantime I downloaded another edition of this play, titled 《情殇钟楼》, Short Lived Love of the Bell Tower, performed by the same cast during the 6th China Peking Opera Art Festival a few months ago. (You can find several great pictures of this particular show here.) In this other version Tian Hao is xiaosheng role, so this time you won’t escape Jin Xiquan’s incredible falsetto! *evil laugh*

However, you surely will like Dong Hongsong in both editions! In the first version his make-up is more life-like, in the second version he wears a typical jingju face paint:


Photo: 行者的镜界

And just to show you how lovely Dong Hongsong looks without Quasimodo make-up, here he is with gingerbread-man pillow:


Photo: 狠老虎不喂

Though disguised as an unattractive person, Dong Hongsong’s innocent face perfectly reflects Chounu’s inner qualities. Ugly outside, beautiful inside. Contrary, Tian Hao is good-looking and sweet-talking, but fully rotten inside. Jin Xiquan admitted that it wasn’t really a carnival to keep that cunning smile on his face all along, and play this “bad, no, very bad” character.

The story follows Victor Hugo’s novel, of course there are a few differences, for example Aiya isn’t hanged at the end, but looses her life during the battle between the outlaws and Tian Hao’s forces.

Shi Yihong excels in martial action, we could see her skills lately in Female Generals of the Yang Family and this interesting Tale of the White Snake edition too, I think these lively and action-packed roles go well with her shiny and optimistic personality.

I don’t know much about Fan Yongliang, but he’s undoubtedly a versatile person. He learned Yang school laosheng role previously, later accepted Zhang Xuejin as master and learned Ma school art, also was member of the 2008-2009 Traditional Art of Zhou Xinfang research and study class. I’ve seen him in two other roles previously, once in a Ma-classic, Si Jinshi (Four Successful Palace Graduates) and once together with Chen Shaoyun in a Qi school play, Wulong Yuan (Black Dragon Courtyard), but I admit frankly that I didn’t really pay attention. I will correct this in the near future and report back.


Fan Yongliang in the role of the evil archdeacon


Tian Hao, for obvious reasons, doesn’t pay attention. Big mistake.

京剧《圣母院》 Shengmu Yuan (Notre Dame)

Click here to download the video.

Length: 1:57:32 File size: 586MB, 720×448 Extension: MKV
Shanghai Grand Theater, 2010-06-21

京剧《情殇钟楼》 Qing Shang Zhonglou (Love of the Bell Tower)

Download videos: Part1 | Part2

Length: 0:58:53, 01:07:24 File size: 360MB, 413MB; 480×360 Extension: MP4
Luojiashan Theatre, Wuhan, 2011-11-13

Cast:

Aiya (Esmeralda): Shi Yihong (史依弘)
Chounu (Quasimodo): Dong Hongsong (董洪松)
Archdeacon Luo (Frollo): Fan Yongliang (范永亮)
Tian Hao (Captain Phoebus): Jin Xiquan (金喜全)
King of the Beggars (Clopin): Qi Baoyu (齐宝玉)
Judge: Ren Guangping (任广平)
Old innkeeper lady: Yu Wei (虞伟)
The little man: Li Jianpu (李建普)

Rehearsal photos:


“Yihong, you gained weight!”


Note Jin Xiquan’s fashionable “Princess” T-shirt… I think I saw that before on Xiong Mingxia (his wife).


Parental guidance needed.


Dress rehearsal. Aren’t those little gypsy drums adorable?
Photos:  蕙蕙83

Sources: hotcinema.com, mplife.comfocus.pptv.com

What a negligent person I am!

Almost a month ago, Bertrand uploaded a great (and big) video of Silang Visits His Mother, starring Shi Yihong and Li Jun, and since he knows I’m obsessed with Jin Xiquan and Xiong Mingxia (who also appear in this staging), he kindly gave me the privilege to make a post about it.

I usually keep things (that are related to my online presence) in mind, but this time I forgot about this very pleasant “duty”of mine.

The story of Yang Yanhui, or Yang Silang (lit. “fourth son”) is one of the most popular Beijing Operas, featured by exciting story, a variety of characters and earworm arias. A version with Yu Kuizhi and Li Shengsu in the leading role was already posted at operabeijing.com, and Bertrand’s friend Zach provided a straightforward description of the whole story.

There are only a few things I would like to add as curiosity.

Zach mentions Yang Yanhui changed his name to Muyi upon captured, to conceal his true identity. However, his new alias also hints at his family relations. The two characters that make the traditional compound for surname Yang (楊) are mu (木) and yi (易). Very clever, isn’t it? How tricky our Silang is.

The version posted earlier omitted one character from the play: Mrs. Silang. Yang Yanhui already had a wife at home who remained loyal to him for fifteen years, and now, after Silang’s short visit, they have to bid farewell again. I definitely don’t envy this character.

The most famous act of this play is undoubtedly Zuo Gong (Sitting in the Palace). Bertrand already posted a video with Yu Kuizhi and Li Shengsu singing the most appealing snippet from the famous duet of Yang Yanhui and Princess Tiejing, but you can never have enough Zuo Gong in your Beijing Opera blog.

In the following clip, the above mentioned duo is singing the same excerpt, just wearing stage costume. It’s a 2009 recording, and Yu Kuizhi seems unusually rested and well-fed this time. I added English subtitles to it with Aegisub, to ease my conscience. Believe me, stereo Yu is fun.

Download the Zuo Gong duet here.

And now to the main performance! You will meet many familiar faces, most of them already have a category, so don’t hesitate and click those links.

Hu Xuan, the young “old lady” of Shanghai Jingju Troupe was featured recently in a complete opera here, playing the role of a poor but noble spirited elderly woman. Now we can see her again as the mother of Yang Silang. I think she deserves a category too, what do you think? *pokes Bertrand*

Young Ma school laosheng Mu Yu, playing Yang Zongbao’s father in this play, also appeared here before, both as kid and as young adult. In the latter post you can also spot Zhu Hong (Jingju Theater of Beijing Youth Troupe), starring as Silang’s wife in this performance.

Shi Yihong and Li Jun are two excellent professionals, though not particularly exciting. Possibly I won’t stand alone with the opinion that performers in the supporting roles are a bit more interesting in this production.

《四郎探母》Silang Tan Mu (The Fourth Son Visits His Mother)

Click here to download the video.

Length: 2:53:06 File size: 1,46GB, 720×576 Extension: MKV
CCTV “Theater in the Air” live broadcast, 2011-04-16
Mei Lanfang Grand Theater, Beijing
 Personal favorite spot: 1:31:20-1:32:45

Cast:
Yang Yanhui: Li Jun (李军)
Princess Tiejing: Shi Yihong (史依弘)
She Taijun: Hu Xuan (胡璇)
Empress Dowager Xiao: Xiong Mingxia (熊明霞)
Yang Yanzhao (Liulang):  Mu Yu (穆宇)
Yang Zongbao: Jin Xiquan (金喜全)
Silang’s wife: Zhu Hong (朱虹)
Brothers of the Liao Empress Dowager: Zhang Yongsheng (张永生), Mei Qingyang (梅庆羊)

The photos below, taken at this performance were borrowed from the CCTV Forums.


Compared to invisible horses and imitated boats, the prop symbolizing Silang and Tiejing’s infant is pretty realistic.
In order to get the jindalingjian (金大令箭), the big golden arrow banner of command, Princess Tiejing pinched the poor baby, and when he started to cry, the Princess said to the Empress Dowager that the infant wants to play with the arrow. The worrying royal grandmom immediately lent the lingjian to the little boy.
On the next picture, there are several other command arrows on Xiao Taihou’s table. The middle one is the “jackpot” Yang Yanhui is longing for. Besides the lingjians we can see a little packet, wrapped in yellow fabric. Despite appearances, it doesn’t contain the Empress Dowager’s lunchbox, but the seal of the commander-in-chief.


In Beijing Opera, all female characters of non-Han ethnicity wear accessories similar to Manchu court wear. The flowery “buns” on Xiao Taihou’s headdress strongly resemble the oversized wedding headpiece Empress Dowager Longyu is wearing on this picture:


Yang Zongbao is holding a lingqi (令旗), command banner to transmit orders.

Have fun watching!

Yangmen

Hello,

I’ve replaced the spliced versions of the HD “Female Warriors of the Yang Family” I had posted earlier with the bigger original files. They’re very large files, but they’re also Among Our Top Picks.

Fern just talked about a symphonic version of this opera, which  had its debut recently (a video of that is on my Want List).

Don’t miss it!

The new files are here.

(Updated 2013-04-23 to fix broken links)
Zhang Huoding

I’m still re-reading Fern’s really fantastic Qiu Shengrong post from this past week. She put in so more work into it, you’d think she had 7 opera elves working as assistants. As far as I’m concerned, this blog has become more fun than going to Disney World since the “rewamp”! Thank you so much, Fern.

I woke up early this Saturday morning at the beginning of a long weekend. The joke at work is that we are taking a day off to celebrate that we’re all back from vacation. The house is empty, let’s blog!

Here are two complete full-length Beijing Opera productions of Suo Lin Nang (The Unicorn Purse). The first one from 4 years ago stars Zhang Huoding. The second, very recent from only a few months ago, stars Shi Yihong.

This is not the first time I post a complete unicorn starring Zhang Huoding. This new video is a find I finished downloading yesterday. Last week I was doing some searches on the peer-to-peer networks and noticed the file size difference on this Suo Lin Nang, so I gambled some bandwidth hoping to obtain a better quality version of the file I already had. Instead, I came up with an altogether different performance. It’s a jackpot, ladies and gentlemen!

High quality sound and picture, a different venue, good camera work. I am guessing filmed in Hong Kong? And it stars the number one unicorn tamer in China, Zhang Huoding. Some might opine that in the 2004 performance I posted previously she was in better voice, but to me that’s like comparing a 1954 Maria Callas performance to a 1956 Maria Callas performance of the same opera. Let’s face it, if you like Maria Callas, you’ll want both performances. Same difference here.

So, in conclusion, can we spare the disk space to share this repeat performance? Surely you jest!

Click here to download the 2007 Unicorn Purse video starring  Zhang Huoding (955MB, .mkv file format)

As a bonus, here are a couple of very fine photos of Zhang Huoding picked among a slew of gorgeous stills Fern forwarded me this week. (As we discussed earlier, I’m so predictable, I know. I keep telling everyone that it’s a quality rather than a fault.)

Anyway, among the photographs there is a nice collection of Suo Lin Nang action shots from which the nice one below, some backstage photos of the star struggling to get out of make-up (give the poor lady a Perrier and leave her alone for 20 minutes, for gosh sakes!), and a collection of autograph-signing moments, such as the one I added below. You can view these photos in bigger format by clicking on them, as in all my posts. The source of the photos are here and here.

Zhang Huoding in the Unicorn Purse

Zhang Huoding incognito

The second video, downloaded last week — I won a close race with our Budapest team, but only because one of the opera elves slowed down in the back of the pack — is a brand new production featuring our Beijing Opera “It” girl of the year, Shi Yihong. As Fern explains in her post from megapoxy.net here, this role is a bit of a stretch for her. It’s a fine performance with the great virtue of being simply different. It’s not a carbon copy not-quite-there-yet performance. Shi Yihong has her own personality, and keeps surprising her audience and her fans. She is ambitious, very hard working, and she is never boring. I like her a lot. [Fern, we should invite Shi Yihong over for some afternoon tea, what do you think? I could get some chocolate biscuits, you could also invite Jin Xiquan if you like.]

Cast (repeated from here):
Xue Xiangling (薛湘灵): Shi Yihong (史依弘)
Zhao Shouzhen (赵守贞): Yan Haiying (严海鹰)
Zhao Luhan (赵禄寒): Qi Baoyu (齐宝玉)
Xue Liang (薛良): Zhang Jianquan (张鉴泉)
Mei Xiang (梅香): Lü Kunshan (吕昆山)
Lu Tianlin (卢天麟): Bi Xixi (毕玺玺)
Biyu (碧玉): Yu Wei (虞伟)
Mother Hu (胡婆): Jin Xihua (金锡华)


Shi Yihong

A couple of photos of Shi Yihong in this production borrowed from here:

Shi Yihong in the Unicorn Purse

Shi Yihong in the Unicorn Purse

Shi Yihong in the Unicorn Purse

Click here to download the 2011 Unicorn Purse video starring Shi Yihong (1 GB in size, .mkv file format as well)

Both files can be viewed in the VLC player on any computer platform you can think of.

Before I say, “Enjoy!”, I would like to kindly ask you  to please leave a comment on the blog if you have some time, as it motivates us greatly to continue doing this. A pat on the head goes a long way, trust me.

Enjoy!

 

(Updated 2013-04-23 to fix broken links)
A Distinguished Gathering

Here is a great video Fern sent me of a complete concert from last February in Shanghai: “A Distinguished Gathering: Beijing-Tianjin-Shanghai Joint Performance“, which was filmed at the Shanghai Grand Theatre on 2011-02-17.

It might be really hot here today, but it was cold in Shanghai during the concert. Fern spotted some very good photos of everyone at this concert:
http://bbs.cntv.cn/thread-14651922-1-1.html
Wang Peiyu and her musicians are in winter coats during rehearsals.

rehearsing in Shanghai

Wang Peiyu

Not only the rehearsals were cold, so was the concert. Check out the audience during the concert, they have their collars turned up!  (Especially the guy wearing yellow on the left, we’ll be checking in on him frequently during the video.)

winter coats

The MC, however, is brave enough to remain sleeveless. This is not HD, so you can’t see the goose-bumps.
sleveless MC

Francis, a salesman I work with, was actually in Shanghai at about the same time as this concert was filmed. Now, if there’s one thing a Canadian is used to, it’s the winter cold. Yet when I asked Francis about his trip in China, he admitted he froze his tail off the whole time. The reason: it’s not that cold in China, it’s just that nobody heats their cars or buildings to save money. Canadians heat their houses above 15 degrees at all times during winter, even if they leave the city for two weeks. Doing the opposite is not only cheap, it’s unhealthy. Wary Canadian home owners know humid buildings under 15 degrees Celsius can easily get infested with mildew that grow between wall partitions, giving off spores that attack the lungs and cause strong asthma and allergies. Cleaning such infestations are difficult to do, require professional services and ripping out walls, which can be much more costly than the savings won by not heating. An acquaintance of mine had the habit of never heating his Ottawa region home. Ten years later, his home is worthless, and can only be torn down.

Please lower the volume on your computer before beginning, sound is about as loud as the theatre was cold.

As usual, I’ll print Fern’s comments in italics with perhaps a comment from me here or there in [regular font]. Here is Fern with the cast and song list:

Yang Shaopeng

Yang Shaopeng (杨少彭) -Zhulian Zhai (Zhulian Fort)

Zhao Huan

Zhao Huan (赵欢) – Suo Lin Nang (The Unicorn Purse)

[ I am starting to know this opera fairly well! It's starting to be like listening to "O mio babbino caro" sung by different sopranos (my favorite version is Renée Fleming's). This is the first time I hear Zhao Huan. To my untrained ears, she does not hit the high notes with ease, and is a bit too quiet during at least one quieter moment. She also could look a bit more relaxed and assured. I guess it's hard to picture everyone in the audience naked when it's that cold and they're all dressed in winter coats. ]

Tan Xiaoling

Tan Xiaoling (谭晓令) – Silang Tan Mu (Silang Visits his Mother)

[This is the first time I see her. The audience responds well to her intro. Boisterous, a very strong voice, her style sounds almost violent to my ears! She's a natural for Modern Beijing opera.]

Zhang Liyuan

Zhang Liyuan (张笠媛) – Zhuangyuan Mei (Top Scholar as Matchmaker)

[First time I hear Zhang Liyuan. Her voice is a little high, à la Li Shengsu, and she has excellent portamento. The passage at 18:40 is exceptional. This aria's tempo could have been a bit slower for me, with more sustain on the final words of the sentences in certain passages. The accompanying instrument is also a little bit harsh and screechy. ]

Wang Peiyu

Wang Peiyu (王珮瑜) – Sou Gu Jiu Gu (The Story of the Orphan)

[Fern considers this actress a shooting star. I admit she has an excellent voice and regularly sings something I'd never heard before. Sound saturates a bit at 21:11, Wang Peiyu has a very dynamic voice, it can go from soft to very loud. ]

Xiong Mingxia

Xiong Mingxia (熊明霞) – Huo Xiaoyu

[I haven't seen this singer before. A pretty voice, a pretty face, precise and fluid delivery. She must be terrific in full costume. ]

An Ping

An Ping (安平) – Zhaoshi Guer (The Zhao Orphan); Hei Xuanfeng Li Kui (Li Kui,
The Black Whirlwind)

[An Ping is hot this year, a Plum Blossom award in pocket. He is also featured in another concert here. A virile and masculine performer, no high pitched funny stuff going around here.]

Wang Runjing

Wang Runjing (王润菁) – Shi Wen Hui (Meeting by Poetry)

[Screechy jinghu! Wang Runjing starts this off like a siren alarm. I like the way she weaves around a note, an elegant delivery.]

Du Zhenjie

Du Zhenjie (杜镇杰) – Ganlu Si (Ganlu Temple)

[ A highly pleasing voice, with appropriate reverb. ]

Li Guojing

Li Guojing (李国静) – Xie Yaohuan

[ A truly windswept performance, Li Guojing could easily have sung this from the top of a cliff. I love the tremolo at 48:11 and 49:11 ]

Yuan Huiqin

Yuan Huiqin (袁慧琴) – Dui Huaqing (The Matching Spears)

[ A hardly recognisable out-of-costume Yuan Huiqin proves once again to be a force of nature at 52:00. She gets a roar of approval at the end of her song, prompting her to continue, hitting a truly spectacular note at 53:47.]

Jin Xichuan

Jin Xiquan (金喜全): Xiao Yan (Lü Bu and Diaochan – The Small Dinner)

[ Uncommonly good control of a very high-pitched voice. Holy cow! This is where male western audiences really hit a roadblock. Although I can tell Fern digged this, from her final comments at the end of this post. I'll just limit myself to add that Jin Xiquan has Elvis-like eyebrow control. ]

Zhang Ke

Zhang Ke (张克) – Wenzhao Guan (The Zhao Pass)

Tang Yuancai Tang Yuancai (唐元才) – Tan Huang Ling (Exploring the Emperor’s Tomb)

[ A strong, solid presence and a great voice singing a very pleasant aria. Have we seen Tang Yuancai elsewhere? 1:15:58 is fantastic.]

Zhang Jianguo

Zhang Jianguo (张建国) – Kong Cheng Ji (Empty City Strategy)

Li Peihong

Li Peihong (李佩红) – Chun Gui Meng (Dream in a Girl’s Chamber)

[ Zhang Huoding repertoire, I can hardly listen to anyone else singing it. The audience strongly disagrees with me at 1:32:48.]

Meng Guanglu

Meng Guanglu (孟广禄) – Tan Yinshan (Visiting Yin Mountain); Qixi Baihu Tuan (Raid on the White Tiger Regiment)

I recently found this photo of Meng Guanglu applying make-up for a traditional role:

Meng Guanglu

[ Here he is singing from Yang Ban Xi, one of the 8 model works, although you couldn't tell from his traditional approach. He is in really fine, fine voice too, I might add. And he grows on you. Note to myself: I should order a Meng Guanglu CD. Also a very interesting camera shot here of the percussionist in action. ]

percussionist

[ He uses tiny drum sticks, I always thought they used woodblocks with very quick wrist action. ]

Shi Yihong

Shi Yihong (史依弘) – Mu Guiying Guashuai (Mu Guiying Takes Command)

[ For the past year or so, Shi Yihong is everywhere. Every opera she is in is peer-to-peered like crazy. She is the Beijing Opera "It girl" of the moment, it seems. No doubt she is worthy of this adulation. She has the voice and the moves. However! She surprises me, but she does not hypnotise me. 1:49:11 inspires respect but not unconditional surrender. Why is that? I can't figure it out. ]

Chen Shaoyun

Chen Shaoyun (陈少云) – Da Yan Song (Beating Yan Song)

[ Fern likes this performer very much, but perhaps not for the same reasons she likes Jin Xiquan. ]

Yuan Huiqin, An Ping – Chisang Zhen (Red Mulberry Village)
Yes! Finally a Yuan-An version. Long live the Beijing-Shanghai cooperation!

[ An Ping is the Beijing Opera performer most likely to make a fortune from television commercials endorsing either after-shave or neck ties. He is such a guy. ]

Li Guojing, Yang Shaopeng – Zuo Gong (Sitting in the Palace)

trio

Du Zhenjie, Shi Yihong, Meng Guanglu – Er Jin Gong (Entering the Palace for
the Second Time)

Audience gets the flower bouquets at the end. I surely would have broken a
few noses for Jin Xiquan’s one. [?]

Click here to download the video. File format is .MKV which can be played using VLC. File size is 603 MB.

All in all, it was really worth sitting in the cold. And getting your nose broken.

Enjoy!


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