Wang Rongrong 王蓉蓉


(Updated 2013-12-31 to fix broken video link)

Wang Yan

Great thanks to Fern who helped me sort this one out. Fern has her own blog on Chinese Opera which is absolutely splendid, please check it out as well.

This production stars Yang Shaopeng, Wang Rongrong and Meng Guanglu. It is a full-length two hour opera filmed in front of a very enthusiastic crowd in Beijing. Picture and sound quality are superb. Wang Ronrong is in great voice, and Meng Guanglu is even more so! Splendid cast, splendid costumes, the sound mix between instruments and vocals seems better than usual.

Fern found this reference with opera synoses. Here is today’s story, actually three separate stories rolled up into one opera.

For the Safefy of the State (Da Bao Guo) - The crown prince is too young to attend to State affairs when Ming emperor Muzong dies. The dowager Li Yanfei’s father plans to usurp the throne. A high-ranking official Xu Yanzhao and defense minister Yang Bo go to the court to convince the dowager of her father’s conspiracy. The two loyal officials argue with the dowager in court.

Paying Homage at the Royal Mausoleum (Tan Huangling)Ming Emperor Muzong dies in 1573 when his son is too young to hold court, so the Empress Dowager’s father attempts to usurp the throne. Duke Xu Yanzhao, who is loyal to the young emperor, tries to persuade the Empress Dowager not to give up the throne to her father, but she rebuffs him. Xu pays homage at Emperor Muzong’s mausoleum and weeps there. Defense Minister Yang Po finds the duke there and they decide to approach the Empress Dowager a second time in an attempt to save the young emperor.

Entering the Palace for the Second Time (Er Jin Gong) - Li Liang in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), who has usurped the throne after the emperor’s death, orders the palace be blockaded so that the empress dowager is completely cut off from the outside world. By now, the empress dowager has discovered Li Liang’s treachery. She regrets that she has ignored the warnings from two faithful officials, and can do nothing but weep in the palace. The two, Xu Yanzhao and Yang Po, however, manage to enter the palace to persuade the empress dowager to take action. She is moved and realizes that Xu and Yang are loyal to her son, the emperor-to-be. So she entrusts her son to the two officials so that they can help restore the young emperor to the throne.

Da Bao Guo first, Tan Huang Ling starts at 1:03:19 and Er Jin Gong at 1:20:35.

The empress dowager (always dressed in yellow, of course) is Li Yanfei (李艳妃), played by Wang Yan (王艳) and Wang Rongrong (王蓉蓉).
Official Xu Yanzhao (徐彦昭) is played by Wei Jijun (魏积军) and Meng Guanglu (孟广禄).
Defence minister Yang Bo (杨波) is played by Yang Shaopeng (杨少彭), Zhang Kai (张凯) and Ni Maocai (倪茂才).
The antagonist is Li Liang (李良), played by Li Yang (李扬).

The video is an .MKV file viewable with VLC. File size is about 840 MB.

Click here to download the video.

Guanglu Meng

Enjoy!

Ma Gu Offers a Birthday Present

Hello,

I promised to get back with a more detailed report, it’s also important for myself, I tend to forget what happened on a given day.

02.10.

At 2pm, we  saw the Beijing Opera “Ma Gu Offers a Birthday Present” at the Chang’an Theater. It’s a funny Mei school play. The story: Ma Gu is a smaller goddess, and wants to gift magical wine to Wangmu. No-one believes she will succeed, the eight immortals don’t help her, but finally she gets the wine and Wangmu promotes her.

My favorite from this performance was Goddess Taohua (Peach Flower), played by huadan Suo Mingfang.

Photos were not allowed, but I tried to make a few several times, but none of those worked out. The lighting was so intense that I simply couldn’t get a decent shot, although my camera is not bad at all. Compact digital cameras have limits.

Ma Gu Offers a Birthday Present

Ma Gu Offers a Birthday Present

Everyone who had a ticket got a pretty 2013 calendar featuring Zhang Xinyue (Ma Gu.)

calendar

After the performance we had a table reserved at the Yuxin Restaurant, which is located right in the theater. The Yuxin won the CNNGO Best Eats first prize in the “Spicy food” category.

Up until now, I thought I could eat anything spicy with ease, a sandwich with raw habanero peppers in no problem for me. I always said jalapeños are for the weak. But this Sichuan food… I ate from those jelly-strips the link mentions, the chili sauce was incredibly hot. I took a photo: take a look at the amount of big chili peppers on the biggest plate!

spicy

The soup-like thing was a very tasty, sweet smelling mushrooms and with a green vegetable I couldn’t identify (believe me, I’m good at veggies) in hot sauce. The strips are on the smallest plate. Actually I had a hard time because there was nothing you could cool down your mouth with, since the Chinese drink hot water. (Later we ordered plain cooked rice, but that was hot too.) When I burnt my tongue with the hot water, I really wanted to cry.

After dinner, there was plenty of time left before the concert, we checked out the program at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, but unfortunately no Chinese opera performance during my stay.

Here I am with the “Bird’s Egg”.

egg and fern

Had a walk in Zhongshan Park before the next concert began.

The hosts were Liu Mingzhe and Wang Yueling (a huadan I’ve never heard of).

It was the concert of the Beijing Jingju Theater, and because it was a special New Year’s performance, the tickets cost 1280 yuan, horrible. I got mine for free.

list

show posters

performer list

First was Yan Shouping 燕守平 famous jinghu master and some of his disciples performed some “springtime” jinghu music, it was very entertaining. Mr. Yan was wearing black trousers, black shoes, and bright red socks.

Here and there the program changed compared to the printed material. Performers were  in order:
Sha Fei 沙霏 (a Cheng school qingyi, absolutely unknown to me)
Fang Xu
Wang Yueling
Liu Mingzhe
Ding Guiling 丁桂玲
Zhang Shu 张澍
Han Juming (instead of Wang Pan)
Han Juming, Zhang Shu with Taking Tiger Mountain
Wang Yige (her dress and hairstyle was original again…)
Zhang Jianfeng (who was milestones better than in Red Cliff, now I could hear him correctly, also he could sing something that fits his school.)
Zhai Mo (laodan, I like her very much)
Yang Shaopeng (I think he was the tiniest in the whole bunch, but his Elvis-hairdo gets higher and higher each time I see him.)
Shang Wei (wife of Gao Tong- once she was a shining beauty, now she’s a bit, erm, not so shining.)
Gao Tong (Zhang Xuejin’s disciple, he’s not my big favorite.)
Shang Wei and Gao Tong also performed the famous segment from The White-haired Girl, it was entertaining.
Chen Junjie (who was performing in Ma Gu this afternoon – what a busy schedule!)
Ma Xiaoman 马小蔓 (Ma Lianliang’s daughter, works as qingyi.)
Du Peng
Wang Rongrong (She was the star of the evening.)
Li Chongshan 李崇善 (Veteran laosheng)

The concert ended around 22:30.

Next day, I had a full-day sightseeing extravaganza, I took a long walk in hutongs while munching mahua 麻花, saw a few shabby looking “houses” with the sign “Protected historical site of such-and-such district” and the legendary Zhengyici Theater 正乙祠戏楼 (it was closed); checked out the corso at the Arrow Tower, it was the most colorful thing I’ve ever seen; walked down Liulichang Street 琉璃厂路. After petting a few dogs I took the bus to the Niujie (Ox Street) Mosque. It really is beautiful. Not a single tourist was there, just local Muslims, I just walked in when an all-smiley guy started to wave a ticket, I bought that (10 yuan).

After that I still had the energy to see the oldest buddhist temple in Beijing, the Fayuansi 法源寺. Tourists: zero, locals: ca. 3 people. Actually you have to buy a ticket here, but it was too cold and nobody was in the mood to open the window just to sell a 10 yuan ticket! It was utterly peaceful, I spent lots of time there. Then I ran home, made tea, rushed to the Zhongshan Garden, I was late, but got there in time for the second concert.

Those performers I’ll list in the next mail, Bao Fei and Jiang Yishan were the hosts. The best in show for me was Mu Yu 穆雨, he’s better than Gao Tong, Zhao Hua. Learning pays off.

Mu Yu

(above Mu Yu, swiped from here)

Fern and Wang Rongrong

Here Fern with Peking Opera Star Wang Rongrong.

Hopefully, this better pose of Wang Rongrong should mollify Géza.

Today 2012-02-07, Fern wrote:

“What’s the secret behind artificial beards that keep their form? I might have known — hair spray.”

Just for the record, I prefer to dye my own hair platinum.

;)

Hello,

My peer-to-peer downloads often take a couple of weeks to finish and often when I add a link to my program, the Chinese characters in the file name becomes garbled because somewhere along the line something was not encoded in UTF-8. Weeks later, when the file is finally completely downloaded, I try to figure out what show I managed to get based only on a date and file size. Usually, Fern’s listing of current videos here resolves the problem.

In the rare cases when something isn’t listed, I check with Fern directly in case I have something she might not have yet. It’s happened before in the past, it might even happen again!  ;)

For this particular show, Fern returned me a complete cast list along with the file title and I was a bit shamed not to have noticed a couple of obvious performers as I scanned through the video. So let’s call this post a collaboration between Fern and I, adding she deserves most  of the credit for this one!

This show was presented on 2006-10-02 at the Chang’an theater in Beijing. As Fern describes it, It’s a dan role “this school-that school highlights” performance. So, lots of ladies in this 3 hour show with a couple of favourite performers thrown in : Lü Yang, Li Jie and Wang Rongrong.

The show program:

 

Su San Sent Out Under Guard with Liu Wei

Liu Wei

Su San Sent Under Escort has already been discussed briefly here. It is based on part of a larger opera called 《玉堂春》Yu Tangchun (Story of Su San).  You can follow what happens to Su San next after this segment here.

This segment is 20 minutes long.

Liu Wei starts off well and is greeted warmly by the audience. She has a bit of a “Barbie doll” voice in her dialogues, more huādàn than qīngyī in delivery to my perception. But don’t trust what I say, it might be a particularity of the Huang school delivery. Fern has thoroughly upstaged all Chinese opera web sites with a terrific page on her blog listing different schools with sound  clips here. Unfortunately no clip for the Huang school yet, so hard for me to tell at this point.

I liked the orchestration and delivery in the aria beginning at 9:31, very pleasing arrangement and execution. Highlight is 12:31, deservedly well applauded.

 

Jin Yunu · Bridal Room with Tang Hexiang and Liu Mingzhe

Tang Hexiang

I’m not familiar with this opera or the performers. It looks like the bridegroom has some explaining to do to his lovely bride. Did he oversleep on his wedding day? I wouldn’t have in his place, Tang Hexiang promises a lot of blissful marital aggravation! Her singing at 33:34 is spectacular, and so is 37:50 to 38:00. She even has a Guo Wei profile going for her:

Tang Hexiang

She’s a hot number, all right. Xun school, and a young performer from the 4th 2004 to 2008 class according to Fern’s Who’s Who. So she wasn’t even a graduate when she performed this. If you want to see her perform this bit again, try the peer to peer link Fern mentions here.

Fern added, “As I was checking this out, I discovered a typo in the opera Jin Yunu cast, although Zhang Wei is credited, the performer was obviously Liu Mingzhe, so I double checked on the net and made the change.”

 

The Unicorn Purse · Spring and Autumn Pavilion with Lü Yang and Zhang Chanyu

Lü Yang

Faithful to the original play, a man plays the vivacious handmaiden in this excerpt.

The Unicorn Purse is an opera I’ve seen so often now, it has sort of become like a Hungarian cucumber salad to me, a dish which depending on where you are eating can be served hot or cold, with or without paprika, sweet or salty, and (most importantly) with or without sour cream. It’s never served the same, but it’s always the same. (In my opinion, cold, salty, with paprika and just a bit of sour cream is best I think.)

Yet no matter how blasé one might get after seeing this play too much, it’s undeniable that Lü Yang is in great voice here, dishing out unicorns with power and conviction. And no sour cream whatsoever.

 
Tale of the White Snake · Imprisoning Bai Suzhen with Chang Qiuyue, Liu Mingzhe, and Suo Mingfang

White Snake

Had not seen embroidery like this on the white snake before (?)

 

Tale of the White Snake · Broken Bridge with Wang Yan, Zhang Wei, and Yan Hongyu

Wang Yan

I liked this snake better, it has the scratchier accompanists and a more dramatic lead singer with a bigger voice.

 

The Drunken Concubine with Li Jie

Li Jie

Li Jie brings a lot of charisma and fine singing to this well-known Mei school play.

Every slow movement counts here and is intriguing to watch. At 2:06:00 she is superb.

Poco agrees with me, this segment is the best reason to download this video! Fern, is there a longer video of Li Jie in this role?

All in all, very very nice!

 
Top Scholar as Matchmaker with Wang Rongrong, Tan Xiaozeng, Zhu Qiang, Bao Fei.

Wang Rongrong

This final segment is double the length of the others. Wang Rongrong is the star of the show tonight, and her fan club is here.

I checked my files, I have another brief video of Wang Rongrong singing an aria from this opera, but not a full-length performance. It might be worth tracking down.

Here, Wang Rongrong demonstrates simply superb control, 2:15:02 is a good case in point. She will hit these high points at least half a dozen more times during this 45 minute performance.

Wang Rongrong is a classic Beijing Opera performer: she does not overdo her roles, she is a total team player who scores goal after goal.

Wang Rongrong out of make-up looks nothing like she does in make-up. Also, you have to be pretty observant to spot the differences in costume between Li Jie and Wang Rongrong on this video.

Many audience members rush to the exits instead of applauding, which is a bit of a sad final note for an otherwise splendid show.

The original file name was 京剧-折子戏-20061002北京-旦角流派专场.mkv, the length of the show is just under 3 hours, file size is 823.4 MB. Video size is a bit smallish, but it can be stretched a bit to make it bigger and the sound is excellent.

Click here to download the video

And remember, don’t drink like a concubine and drive.

 

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)

As we mentioned already, today would be the 91th birthday of Beijing Opera master Zhang Junqiu. 91 isn’t a round number, so no big commemorating concert this year, but don’t afraid, last year almost 30 artists gathered in the National Political Consultative Hall in Beijing to celebrate the occasion.

Noted Beijing Opera artists, students, followers and family members of Zhang Junqiu came to show their appreciation, including two of his most well-known disciples, Wang Rongrong and Xue Yaping.

Zhang Junqiu and Wu Lizhen’s son, Zhang Xuehao was also present, together with his new wife Dong Cuinuo, a talented disciple of his father. Another relative appearing on the stage was Zhang Xin, wife of Zhang Xuehao’s younger brother, Zhang Xuejiang. Without a doubt, the Zhang family is a real opera family. -‿-

Another point of interest was the last duo, Mei Baojiu and his brilliant disciple Hu Wenge, who was just featured in a complete opera here.

This group photo comes from the CCTV Forum, you can find more great pictures there:


Zhao Fangyuan, Zhang Qiting, Zhang Leilei, Wu Haoyi, Wang Pan, Jiang Yishan, Wang Runjing, Yang Yongshu, Zhang Ping, Wen Ruhua, Dong Cuinuo (changed dress), Zhang Xuehao, Xue Yaping, Wang Rongrong, Zhao Xiujun, Zhang Xuemin, Zhang Xin, Zhang Liyuan, Zhao Qun, Wang Yige, Wan Xiaohui, Hong Yan, Liu Dong

Concert celebrating Zhang Junqiu’s 90th birthday

Click here to download the video.

Length: 2:48:26 File size: 445MB, 720×432 Extension: MKV
20 September 2010, National Political Consultative Hall, Beijing
Broadcast in CCTV’s Theater in the Air on 27 October 2010.

List of performers:

0:02:45《女起解》Nü Qi Jie (Su San Sent Out Under Guard) – Zhang Qiting  (张其婷)
0:03:34《春秋配》Chun Qiu Pei (Romance of Chunfa and Qiulian) – Liu Dong (刘栋)
0:04:30《秦香莲》Qin Xianglian – Wu Haoyi (吴昊颐)
0:05:40《望江亭》Wangjiang Ting (Riverside Pavilion) – Wang Yige (王奕戈)
0:06:22《诗文会》Shi Wen Hui (Meeting by Poetry) – Zhao Fangyuan (赵芳媛)

0:07:15《状元媒》Zhuangyuan Mei (Top Scholar as Matchmaker) – Dong Xueping (董雪萍)
0:09:13《楚宫恨》Chu Gong Hen (Sorrow in Chu Palace) – Wan Xiaohui (万晓慧)
0:11:11《坐宫》Zuo Gong (Sitting in the Palace) – Hong Yan (洪岩), Zhang Leilei (张蕾蕾), Tan Zhengyan (谭正岩)
0:15:10《秋瑾》Qiu Jin – Wang Pan (王盼)
0:20:43《状元媒》Zhuangyuan Mei (Top Scholar as Matchmaker) –  Zhang Liyuan (张笠媛)
0:26:52《诗文会》Shi Wen Hui (Meeting by Poetry) – Zhao Qun (赵群)
0:30:32《女起解》Nü Qi Jie (Su San Sent Out Under Guard) – Jiang Yishan (姜亦珊)
0:36:35《赵氏孤儿》Zhaoshi Guer (The Zhao Orphan) – Yang Yongshu (杨永树)
Uncle Yang is an amateur actor, inspired by Zhang Junqiu’s art since childhood. He isn’t an official disciple of Mr. Zhang but it’s said there was an outstanding teacher-student relationship between them.

0:41:15《状元媒》Zhuangyuan Mei (Top Scholar as Matchmaker) – Zhang Xin (张新)
0:49:25《彩楼记》Cai Lou Ji (Tale of the Decorated Chamber) – Wang Runjing (王润菁)
0:55:33《银屏公主》Yinping Gongzhu (Princess Yinping) – Zhang Xuehao (张学浩)
1:03:28《打渔杀家》Da Yu Sha Jia (The Fishermen’s Revenge) – Wen Ruhua (温如华)
1:06:38《楚宫恨》Chu Gong Hen (Sorrow in Chu Palace) – Zhao Xiujun (赵秀君)
1:20:30《刘兰芝》Liu Lanzhi – Dong Cuinuo (董翠娜)

1:28:32《西厢记》Xi Xiang Ji (Romance of the West Chamber) – Zhang Ping (张萍)
1:34:10《望江亭》Wangjiang Ting (Riverside Pavilion) – Zhang Xuemin (张学敏)
1:37:48《苏武牧羊》Su Wu Mu Yang (Su Wu as Shepherd) – Zhu Qiang (朱强)
1:42:37《锁麟囊》Suo Lin Nang (The Unicorn Purse) – Chi Xiaoqiu (迟小秋)
1:48:44《周仁献嫂》Zhou Ren Xian Sao (Zhou Ren Offering His Brother’s Wife) – Li Hongtu (李宏图)
1:56:42《捉放曹》Zhuo Fang Cao (Capturing and Releasing Cao Cao) – Du Zhenjie (杜镇杰)
2:02:15《西厢记》Xi Xiang Ji (Romance of the West Chamber) – Wang Rongrong (王蓉蓉)
2:07:20《韩玉娘》Han Yuniang – Zhang Ke (张克)

2:13:44《怜香伴》Lian Xiang Ban (A Gentle Companion) – Xue Yaping (薛亚萍)
2:19:00《铡美案》Zha Mei An (Case of Chen Shimei) – Meng Guanglu (孟广禄)
2:24:08《四郎探母》Silang Tan Mu (Silang Visits his Mother) – Zhao Baoxiu (赵葆秀)
2:27:55《辕门射戟》Yuanmen She Ji (The Magic Arrow Shot) – Ye Shaolan (叶少兰)
2:34:06《横槊赋诗》Heng Shuo Fu Shi (Cao Cao Sings an Ode with Long Lance) – Shang Changrong (尚长荣)
2:37:27《贵妃醉酒》Guifei Zuijiu (The Drunken Concubine) – Mei Baojiu (梅葆玖), Hu Wenge (胡文阁)
2:43:00《忆秦娥·娄山关》 Yi Qin’e·Lou Shan Guan (Remembering Qin’e – Loushan Pass) – Zhang Junqiu (张君秋)
This is an old tune with Mao’s new lyrics.

The little slideshow thing starting at 2:45:53 is featuring a few pictures of Zhang Junqiu I haven’t met online before, for example this colored one from The Orphan of the Zhao Family:

My personal favorites this time were Wu Haoyi, Zhao Qun, Dong Cuinuo and Du Zhenjie.
Fanciest outfit: Wang Yige (Bertrand found an article in English about this girl back in July, which I did not forget just carefully saved up for this post. Thank you Bertrand!)
Best optical illusion shirt: Wen Ruhua
Most original excerpt: Zhang Ke
Performer forcing me to sing-along: Zhu Qiang

I hope you’ll enjoy this video and all the famous arias.
See You next week!

Deng Min and Song Xiaochuan

In the Fragrant Flowers post, I mentioned Deng Min must be terrific in full traditional Beijing Opera costume and make-up. I told myself, “If I ever find a full-length opera with her starring in it, I’m posting it.”

Well here she is, along with a stellar cast consisting of Wang Rongrong, Song Xiaochuan, Zhang Jianguo, and Li Peihong in the Red-maned Fiery Horse (Hongzong liema). I originally downloaded it about a year or so ago because of Wang Rongrong, but she is not the main attraction here, I would say Song Xiaochuan in armor is, instead.

This opera is supposed to be a Valentine’s Day romance, but personally I find the storyline more than a bit confusing, because as Fern points out, it is in fact a monster-size play with almost always only a few acts performed together at once. And then actors playing one role are switched, so you have to keep score. This video also has a spoken presentation introduction rather than some titles stating the players, and my Chinese been limited, is the reason I held it back for so long.

This version is over two hours long, probably dating back a few years. Sound is fine, video is compressed and somewhat choppy and blurry. Still, it is quite watchable and I am posting the original file, although I converted it for myself with Handbrake-GTK to another more convenient format to rewind and fast forward in VLC.

There is a scene which is kind of surpriseing to see, where Li Peihong seems to be on stilts next to Wang Rongrong.

Li and Wang

Click here to download the video   file size is 581MB.

Enjoy!

With referral to an external post, I would like to present here a few scenes from a play I liked very much. You can buy a copy here if you’re fond of tasteful innovation. All videos were converted to MP4 with Handbrake, and suffered only minimal deinterlacing loss. Summaries in English were found at .

《宰相刘罗锅》Zaixiang Liu Luoguo (Prime Minister Humpbacked Liu)

Download videos here: [Scene1] [Scene2] [Scene3] [Scene4] [Scene5]
File size: 153MB, 212MB, 94MB, 74MB, 123MB respectively, 708×480

Chapter I — Debut

Emperor Qianlong attempted the daughter of the Sixth Grand Prince to become his concubine. However, the princess hated to be restrained by rules and manners in the royal court. As a master of chess playing, she intended to take the initiative by selecting her husband through chess playing in the chess court. Liu Yong (Hunchback Liu), who arrived in Beijing for the Imperial Examination (The feudal society of china employed the Imperial Examination System to select officials from intellectuals), ran into the chess court and won the game. But then he was driven into a dilemma by Emperor Qianlong, traveling in disguise, who argued for another game. In the Imperial Examination, Courtier He Shen pulled strings behind the scenes so that Liu Yong failed. But He Shen’s conspiracy was exposed by Liu Yong. He Shen tried hard to drive Liu Yong to a dead end. Eventually, when Liu Yong succeeded in passing the exam and was holding the wedding ceremony, Emperor Qianlong and Courtier He Shen showed up without notice. What will be the fate of Liu Yong?

Scene1
Liu Yong has to face the worst wedding night ever: not only his father-in-law returns twice to talk to his daughter, but the Emperor also shows up. Princess Gege is spending the night with playing chess. At least, Liu Yong gets a funny wedding present in matryoshka boxes.


“Little shoes!” (Chen Shaoyun)

Chapter II — Night Interrogation

Jiangsu provincial governor Ye Guotai committed embezzlement by misreporting the thirty-li (one li is about 500 meters) river embankment as eight hundred-li. When Emperor Qianlong made an inspection tour in southern areas to the Yangtze River, Ye Guotai and He Shen conspired to block the way. Liu Yong, as magistrate of Jiangning, strived to break their plot. Right then, the Emperor caught sight of a beauty Yin Hong, passing by on a boat. Qianlong chased after the beauty to the Qinxin Mansion, ran into conflict with a bully Shi Jinghu there and brought him to death for his vicious behavior. Then Qianlong and He Shen were put into jail accidentally by Zhang Cheng. Ye Guotai meant to play both ends against the middle, dictating Liu Yong to punish severely on the case. Liu Yong had quick wits to hold night interrogation to free Qianlong from jail and to expose the embezzlement by Ye Guotai.

Scene2
The Emperor falls for the beautiful Yin Hong, and tries to seduce her with sweet words. Later he accidentally kills a village bully, Shi Jinghu in a battle of love, and gets arrested.


Qianlong wears rose-tinted glasses. (Li Yan, Zhang Huifang)

Scene3
Gege’s father gets drunk and shows us his vocal abilities. The Princess isn’t pleased. Liu Yong returns with the bad news – some serious watersleeves twirling goes on.


“Daddy, please stop singing!” (Ma Zengshou, Dong Yuanyuan)


“What should we do now?” (Chen Shaoyun)

Chapter III — Plum Chanting

In believing that a heavy snow foretells a big harvest, Emperor Qianlong began to intone a poem spontaneously and then got stuck. Liu Yong moved on to consummate the poem. Qianlong agreeably accepted it. He Shen was very jealous of Liu’s talent. Then Liu Yong’s wife, the princess, compiled the poem into Liu Yong’s collection of works by chance. He Shen took advantage of the incident and threw Liu Yong into jail, intending to put him in a fatal position. The Emperor pretended to grant Liu Yong a sword to commit suicide, meaning to cutting down his pride and overconfidence. Liu Yong and the Princess exercised their intelligence to free themselves from the hot water, winning back the emperor’s favor, and putting He Shen in an embarrassing position.

Scene4 and 5
These come with a different cast.


Wang Rongrong plays the Princess.


A hardly recognizable unbearded Zhu Qiang as Emperor Qianlong.


Du Zhenjie as Liu Yong isn’t too happy about the “harakiri sword” he just got.


Contrary, the treacherous He Shen is overjoyed. A surprisingly lean Meng Guanglu without face paint. (Neither jing nor chou performers wear their usual make-up in this play.)

That’s all for today folks, I hope you had fun. ^^

Qiu Shengrong, possibly the most well-known great master of the painted face role has been mentioned a few times lately. I realized he was born on 25 August, 1915 – so a commemorative post seems to be appropriate, though a few days later.

I decided to feature two videos: a Qiu school classic arias large-scale Beijing opera concert and a lip-synced staging of Zha Mei An. The concert is large-scale indeed, almost 3 hours long. I was pondering for a while that I edit it and post a shorter, easier-to-digest version, but finally I couldn’t “cut out” any performers.
The stage play is more friendly in size, half an hour in all.

I know it will be a little massive, but an extraordinary experience after all. Let’s rock.

《铡美案》 Zha Mei An (Legal Case of Chen Shimei)

Practically a shorter edition of Qin Xianglian. Bertrand already wrote a summary to this story, sparing me the effort. Undoubtedly Bao Zheng is the most well-known painted face character in Beijing opera, a righteous judge easily recognizable for his black face paint, with a white half-moon shaped birthmark on his forehead. He’s investigating every case carefully, and the criminals usually have to face decapitation, just like in this case.

Click here to download the video.
Length: 33:30 File size: 106MB, 480×360 Extension: MP4

Cast:
Bao Zheng: Li Changchun (李长春) Voice recording: Qiu Shengrong (裘盛戎)
Chen Shimei: Xin Baoda (辛宝达) Voice recording: Li Hezeng (李和曾)

 

Personal favorite spot: 30:23
Click here to download this particular 1957 archive sound recording in wma format. (Courtesy of Xiaodouzhi.)

《裘韵流芳》Qiu Yun Liu Fang (The Beautiful Sound Heritage of Qiu Shengrong)

Beijing Opera concert commemorating Qiu Shengrong’s 95th birthday
30 October 2010; Mei Lanfang Grand Theater, Beijing

I found superb photos of this performance in the blog of a Qiu fan, check it out. You find more great photos here.
Many performers already have their own category here and need no introduction. The MC is Zhang Zhe again.

Click here to download this mammoth concert.
Length: 2:52:30 File size: 691MB, 720×576 Extension: MKV

1. Appreciating Beijing opera tunes:《夜深沉》Ye Shenchen (Deep Night)
A truly impressive musical performance of the accompanists.
Drummer: Yang Guangtong; jinghu: Ai Bing

2. 《姚期》Yao Qi – Kang Wansheng (康万生)

A much appreciated first-class artist from Tianjin.

3. 《赵氏孤儿》Zhaoshi Guer (The Orphan of the Zhaos) – Fang Xu (方旭)

Zhang Zhe provides us with the information that the lately featured young man is currently student of Meng Guanglu.  Old Meng’s official master was greatly appreciated teacher Fang Rongxiang (方荣翔), who happens to be the grandfather of Fang Xu. Family and disciplic relations are sometimes complicated in the Pear Garden…


Fang Rongxiang with the young Meng Guanglu


4. 《空城计》Kong Cheng Ji (Empty City Strategy) – Tan Zhengyan (谭正岩)

As I mentioned before these two are always together… Little Tan has a very characteristic voice. I change my mind weekly whether I like him or not. Download the same excerpt with Tan Fuying in MP3 format. (Courtesy of Bertrand)

5.《雪花飘》Xuehua Piao (Floating Snowflake); 《南方来信》Nanfang Laixin (Letters from the South) - Liu Jiaxin (刘嘉欣)

Female jing of Tianjin Beijing Opera Theater. I liked her. Both excerpts are from modern Beijing Operas; the first one is about a locomotive engineer who goes to find the technician at New Year’s Eve in the biggest snowstorm to get the generator of the factory fixed; the second one is from an adaptation of playwright Fu Duo’s collected letters, depicting the Vietnamese people’s fight during the war.

6. 《除三害》Chu San Hai (Eliminating Three Evils) – Wei Jijun (魏积军)

7. 《苏武牧羊》Su Wu Mu Yang (Su Wu as Shepherd) – Zhu Qiang (朱强)

My personal preference Ma school laosheng Zhu Qiang came with his trademark role Su Wu again. Check him out in Go West - Bertrand hit the nail on the head with the post title: Yu Kuizhi well accompanied. 

8. 《海瑞罢官》Hai Rui Ba Guan (Hai Rui Dismissed from Office) – Chen Junjie (陈俊杰)

After all the whole Cultural Revolution was provoked by this historical drama. It premiered in Beijing with the cast of Ma Lianliang, Qiu Shengrong and Li Duokui, and was a new attempt on Beijing Opera’s scene at those times.

Chen Junjie’s blog. Not updated since Red Cliff but has some great photos!

9. 《刺王僚》Ca Wang Liao (Stabbing Wang Liao) – Tang Yuancai (唐元才)

Plum Blossom winner (1997) Tang Yuancai has built-in jingju eyebrows. ^^

10. 《杨门女将》Yangmen Nü Jiang (Female Generals of the Yang Family) - Dong Yuanyuan (董圆圆)

Another Plum winner (2001) I’m somewhat biased towards. Dong Yuanyuan’s voice has some strange flavor I like a lot.

11. 《坐寨》Zuo Zhai (Sitting in the Camp) – Qiu Jirong (裘继戎)

12. 《将相和》Jiang Xiang He (The General and The Minister Get Reconciled) – Song Changlin (宋昌林)

And another Plummie winner (2002) from Shandong. I especially liked that he came with an excerpt that has some spoken lines. (And he wears tie clips. ;P)
One of Song Changlin’s instructors in his rookie years was also above mentioned Fang Rongxiang.

13.《周仁献嫂》Zhou Ren Xian Sao (Zhou Ren Offering His Brother’s Son) – Li Hongtu (李宏图)

Head of Mei Lanfang Troupe, Plum winner Li Hongtu doesn’t really need to be introduced. Sound emerges from him so naturally and, may I say, softly. Possibly the most Western ear friendly xiaosheng performer nowadays. Purrfect!
You can read the heart-wrenching story of Zhou Ren here.


Li Hongtu’s accompanist, Zhao Xu (赵旭)
Photo: jingju.net

14. 《铡美案》Zha Mei An (Legal Case of Chen Shimei) - Su Kun (苏坤)

Imposing entrant from a first-class artist of Harbin Beijing Opera Theater.

15. 《锁麟囊》Suo Lin Nang (The Unicorn Purse) – Chi Xiaoqiu (迟小秋)

I agree with Bertrand:

There is only one real unicorn tamer in China.

Being a Cheng school artist during the reign of Zhang Huoding is certainly not as easy as pie, even for a first-class performer who earned the Plum Blossom Award in its second season and leading the Youth Troupe of Beijing’s Peking Opera Theater.

16. 《探皇陵》Tan Huang Ling (Exploring the Emperor’s Tomb) - Yang Yanyi (杨燕毅)

Another disciple of Fang Rongxiang.

17.《文昭关》Wenzhao Guan (The Zhao Pass) – Du Zhenjie (杜镇杰)

Besides a Plum Blossom in 2005, Du Zhenjie harvested numerous other prizes as just reward. When entering the Peking Opera Theater of Beijing in 1986, he got constant support and directions from Ma Lianliang’s adopted son, Ma Changli (马长礼). Ma Changli was a very hardworking student of Yang school, later he became a disciple of Tan Fuying, also got guidance from the amazing Li Shaochun (李少春), and his foster father of course.
Du Zhenjie scored a very desirable father-in-law when married Ma’s daughter.


Ma Changli as Chen Shimei

18.《锁五龙》Suo Wu Long (Subduing Five Dragons); 《断密涧》Duan Mi Jian - An Ping (安平)

I go with the audience at 1:49:32.
I found a few words in an article to the second, for me totally unfamiliar opera this excerpt was from:

“This performance is said to be very difficult as actor have to master the comprehensive set of stage techniques such as singing, reciting, dance-acting and acrobatics very well. Furthermore, it is a high-pitched drama that requires actors to have a very good voice.

The play centers on rebel leader Li Mi who led rebellions against Emperor Yang of Sui in 613 and expected to establish a new dynasty but failed. He then fled to Tang Dynasty territory and submitted to Emperor Gaozu – Li Yuan with another rebel leader Wang Bodang. But the two subsequently rebelled against Tang and try to revive his army. They were finally captured and executed by Tang at Duanmijian.”

Source: CRIEnglish.com

19.《西厢记》Xi Xiang Ji (Romance of the West Chamber) – Wang Rongrong (王蓉蓉)

20.《审潘洪》Shen Pan Hong (Case of Pan Hong); 《盗御马》Dao Yu Ma (Stealing the Imperial Horse) - Deng Muwei (邓沐玮)

Same high niveau we are accustomed to.

21.《打龙袍》Da Longpao (Beating the Emperor’s Robe) - Li Mingyan (李鸣岩)

Considering her age and the reactions of the audience I made a bet with myself that Li Mingyan might be a disciple of Li Duokui and I won. She graduated from the very first class of The National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, and works as laodan and laosheng.
The audience is in a smaller ecstasy after this performance, hardly letting Zhang Zhe to speak. Thus she quickly announces Meng Guanglu, causing the audience to cheer even more.

22.《探阴山》Tan Yinshan  (Visiting Yin Mountain),《奇袭白虎团》Qixi Baihu Tuan (Raid on the White Tiger Regiment)  - Meng Guanglu (孟广禄)

The usual concert pieces of double Plum Blossom winner (1995, 2009) Meng Guanglu, a very friendly performer of Tianjin’s Youth Beijing Opera Troupe.

23.《罗成叫关》Luo Cheng Jiao Guan (Luo Cheng at the City Gate),《辕门射戟》Yuanmen She Ji (The Magic Arrow Shot) - Ye Shaolan (叶少兰)

Almost 70, still on stage, still teaching, and still singing well. I can’t resist to paste my favorite snapshot here, hinting at Mr. Ye’s immeasurable contribution to Beijing Opera’s xiaosheng role, with all his best of the best disciples lined up so neatly:


(left to right) Bao Fei, Song Xiaochuan, Ye Shaolan, Li Hongtu, Jin Xiquan


A younger edition costumed Ye Shaolan as Luo Cheng, crying at the city gate

24.《杜鹃山》Dujuan Shan (Cuckoo Mountain);《赤桑镇》Chisangzhen (Red Mulberry Town) (with Li Mingyan) - Qiu Yun (裘芸)

Daughter of Qiu Shengrong isn’t a professional Beijing Opera performer. She was the first female hualian I heard ever, and after all she inspired me to find out more about Qiu Shengrong and the role in general. So, I love her.

And here the concert ends. I hope you had fun. ^^

(originally published on: Jun 26, 2011)(Updated 2013-04-23 to fix broken links)

Wang RongrongHello again,

Final day of a long rainy weekend of file backups.

I was feeling a little guilty about saying that Wang Rongrong was a bit shrill in the previous post (update note: heresy!), so here she is in top vocal shape in a complete opera. The original title of “Do not sacrifice River Palace” is 别宫祭江 and I have an additional reference as “Do Gong Ji Jiang“. (added 2011-06-27) Fern suggested instead the title “Leaving the palace to offer sacrifice at the river” which makes a lot more sense.

Fern, who is indeed a learned scholar, researched and forwarded the following storyline for this opera:

Sun Shangxiang’s Sacrifice (Bie Gong Ji Jiang) – Sun Shangxiang, wife of King Liu Bei of Shu who ruled during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280 AD), is forbidden to return to her husband by her brother, who is the king of Wu. She decides to take her own life when she hears the news that her husband has died in a fierce battle between the two kingdoms. She comes to the riverbank of the Yangtze and prays to her dead husband before jumping into the water.

Wang Rongrong is in excellent voice here, crystal clear with a very pleasant tone, clearly displaying why she is a “first class” Beijing Opera star. At 24:14 she holds a note for a full 10 seconds. Bravo!!! I shall never doubt you again!

Additional players are credited as Zhao Baoxiu (赵葆秀), Han Juming, Liu Mingzhe (刘明哲), and Song Haoyu (宋昊宇).

Trouble!

Click here to download the video. The file format is MP4 with great sound and picture and can be viewed with VLC. File size is 613 MB.

Lots of nice costumes in this one. Enjoy!

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