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.
Fern has decided to widen my horizons. In our most recent exchange of files via regular post, she sent me 14 half hour shows featuring different new female Beijing Opera performers. And not just Cheng school, either.
Let me say from the onset, there is a lot of talent in China! Several of these performers are acrobatic, a couple specialize in “old woman” roles, one in “vivacious female assistant” roles. All are extraordinary in their own way and worth talking about individually. I’m going to have a lot of fun going through all of these.
The first among these performers I would like to talk about is Zhao Fangyuan (赵芳媛), a Zhang school performer with a splendid voice and striking features.
What a smile! Let’s be honest, if there’s a heaven, Zhao Fangyuan is serving dim sum there in full qingyi costume. Whew! More fried octopus tentacles, please.
“Don’t eat so fast, Bertrand. We have lots more…” (translated from daydreamed Mandarin)
But getting back to her music, Fern posted one concert where she gets to sing a song here and another one here. Zhao Fangyuan wasn’t as memorable in those as she is here, I think.
Fern commented a while back on how thin she looks. Very hard to tell from this video (you know how they wear football shoulder pads under their costumes to fool us), but sure enough some googling images bears this out.
So, hopefully Zhao Fangyuan will discover a dessert she really likes.
Meanwhile, click here to download the video
And enjoy the tentacles, they are delicious!