Sat 5 Jan 2013
Hello Chinese Opera fans,
Finally I decided to finish the fourth part of my trip report. The last few months were so hectic for me that I won’t even try to elaborate on that, and I won’t say sorry repeatedly for being so slow, it makes no sense.
Yesterday I found this article from last month in Beijing Daily, it’s about the Sicily performances – there’s a somewhat funny segment in the article I would like to translate (and here I do say sorry for my Chinhunglish):
“After the opening performance in Catania, The Zhao Orphan, it’s was already very early in the morning, around 1 o’clock, when a girl from Hungary, Nora, rushed backstage, chasing after her idols, Li Hongtu and Zhu Qiang for a group photo.
Previously this year in July, Red Cliff was staged in Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic, after seeing Red Cliff in Hungary, Nora immediately became a Li Hongtu and Zhu Qiang fan, and after hearing that they would later perform in Sicily, she hurriedly bought a plane ticket because she wanted to see all four performances.
As expected, the next day before Lü Bu and Diaochan, she arrived to the theater very early. The Head of the Beijing Jingju Theater, Li Enjie, has already sent an invitation to Nora, asking her to come to Beijing to see jingju.”
This is the evening edition, it has the same text:
Well, I got an invitation (but no invitation letter), we will see it will work out or not.
True that, I arrived to the theater early each day, except the last one. I thought why should I wait there, I won’t meet anyone, so I arrived just in time for the performance, and after curtain call I left immediately. Sure enough that next day I got a message from Zhu Qiang: “I was waiting for you before the performance, but couldn’t see you coming.” That much about my brilliant intuitions. I really wanted to say good-bye, especially that this is one of the few Chinese phrases I can pronounce properly.
Program of the last night was a real classic tale: Legend of the White Snake. I don’t think that any recurring visitor here will ask: “What’s that all about?”
Considering the set of performers available in Sicily, easy to guess that Bai Suzhen (White Snake) was played by Zhang Huifang, Xu Xian by Li Hongtu, Xiao Qing (Green Snake) by Li Hongyan, and Fahai (Boo!) by Huang Yanzhong.
Sadly too much time has passed since the performance, but I remember that the theater was full. Unexpectedly the play ended after the Broken Bridge scene, but it was long enough either way.
Shy Bai, shy Xu
What’s more romantic than sharing an umbrella?
Huang Baixue as the boatman – bravo!
I think this photo is pretty cute.
“Your wife is a snake demon, deal with it.”
During the performance, Li Hongtu made the audience giggle several times, his Xu Xian was naive and gullible. Sicily spectators considered his sniffing during the Broken Bridge scene a highlight, and laughed loudly.
After Stealing the Magical Mushroom, there was an intermission. Suddenly I remembered the “second floor middle” hint, and using the zoom on my camera, luckily discovered Ye Shaolan up there. Certainly took a few photos right there, the one below is really cute, with Mr. Ye on the right (on the left in the background is Li Enjie, the other gentleman I don’t recognize):
A few minutes later he left, and I thought if this is a washroom break, the right moment has arrived. I proceeded to the corridor, and took my tactical position. And guess what, he really showed up! He was smiling at me when I approached him, and was a bit surprised when I handed him a pen and paper. I got the autograph I was longing for, and even took a photo, Bertrand already posted that.
No-one was there to take a joint photo, but I didn’t really mind, actually I didn’t want to ruin the photo with my unpolished grin. Then he said good bye, and my right angled bowing made him smile again. I can’t help, it was just natural instinct.
The performance continued with a fight again: Green Snake and White Snake flooded Fahai’s temple. The audience was fascinated by the spectacular spear-kicking act, as far as I noticed, no spears were dropped, though there was a tight catch.
The snake sisters flood the temple, Xu Xian has to run for his life. The upset Green Snake chases him to the Broken Bridge, but the White Snake, although badly hurt, is still in love with him, so she convinces her sister to spare Xu’s life.
Do you want to see all this? Then click the links below, I recorded this scene – but beware, it’s a totally amateur video with a huge Sicilian fan and spectators’ heads in the view. It’s better interesting than splendid, some kind of souvenir from Fern.
As I mentioned before, after the performance I left immediately, and hurried back to my little room. I’m sorry to say, but I can’t remember what happened later, next day I went sightseeing, meanwhile the troupe arrived to Cosenza and met a very cultured audience.
Next day, very early in the morning I successfully made my way to the airport, and had a smooth flight home – that’s all folks!
I still couldn’t find a good closing catchphrase…
PS. OK, I found another evening edition from October:
Li Hongtu: In these years I visited many places around the world, I came across many of these kind of girls like Nora from Hungary. This year in July we staged Red Cliff in Germany, [...] a German spectator found me backstage, incessantly saying: “I was moved by your voice.”
First column title says: “Foreigner fangirl chasing (the troupe to) Italy”…
Now I really want to know actually what kind of girl I am…