“The Palace of Eternal Youth”
Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe will present two Kunqu operas in town. Kunqu is one of the oldest extant forms of Chinese opera. It dominated Chinese theater from the 16th to the 18th century. It has been listed as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO since 2001.
‘The Palace of Eternal Youth’
A newly revised version of Kunqu opera classic “The Palace of Eternal Youth” will be staged, after its successful debut 10 years ago.
The play, which is split in four parts and will be shown on four nights, tells a tragic love story between Tang Dynasty (618-907) Emperor Li Longji and his concubine Yang Yuhuan. Yang was forced to commit suicide as she was blamed for a rebellion at that time.
“The Palace of Eternal Youth,” also translated as “The Palace of Eternal Life,” is a play written by Hong Sheng in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). He was influenced by the long narrative poem “The Song of Everlasting Sorrow” written by Bai Juyi.
Time: 8 p.m., June 20-23
Tickets: 180-580 yuan
‘The Peony Pavilion’
“The Peony Pavilion” is a play written by Tang Xianzu in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is the most popular play of the Ming Dynasty, and all Kunqu troupes include it in their repertoire.
The performance focuses on the love story between Du Liniang and Liu Mengmei. On a fine Spring day, Du, the daughter of an official, takes a walk in the garden, where she falls asleep. In her dream she encounters a scholar, identified later in the play as Liu, whom in real life she has never met. Liu’s bold advances start off a flaming romance between the two and it flourishes rapidly. Du becomes preoccupied with her dream affair and her lovesickness quickly consumes her. Unable to recover from her fixation, Du wastes away and dies.
The president of the underworld adjudicates that a marriage between Du and Liu is predestined and Du ought to return to the earthly world. Du appears to Liu in his dreams. He, now in the same garden where Du had her fatal dream, realizes that Du is the lady who appeared in his dreams. Liu then agrees to exhume her upon her request and Du is brought back to life. Liu visits Du’s family but he is imprisoned for being a grave robber and an imposter. The ending of the play follows the formula of many Chinese comedies. Liu narrowly escapes thanks to the arrival of the imperial examination results in which Liu has topped the list and thus the emperor pardons all.
Time: 8 p.m., June 24
Tickets: 180-580 yuan
Venue: Shenzhen Poly Theater, intersection of Wenxin Road 5 and Houhaibin Road, Nanshan District (南山区后海滨路与文心五路交界处深圳保利剧院)
Metro: Line 2 or 11, Houhai Station (后海站), Exit E
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