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Yue opera in WHU: A Dream of Red Mansions
Author:Sui Tang  Date:2019-11-02  Clicks:

Recently, the WHU Student Centre was ignited by a group of actresses from 'Xiao Bai Hua' Yue Opera Troupe. The Cantonese Opera classic A Dream of Red Mansions relating a melancholic love story was performed that night.

Yue opera is the second most popular Chinese opera genre, originating in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province in 1906. In its’ s early days, it was still not allowed that men and women performed on the same stage, so all-men cast and all-women cast developed separately. Later, the all-women cast became more popular so that Yue opera became an opera featured by all-women cast.

As light as feathers, Pan Qiaoqiao who played Lin Daiyu, the heroine, stepped on the stage with grace, showing a set of unique and artistic style of Yue opera. Zhang Xiaojun, acting Jia Baoyu, the hero in this play, perfectly displayed the features of the character through her vivid imitation of him.

The first scene of the play was adapted from the third chapter of the book A Dream of Red Mansions, one of the four Chinese literature classics, when Lin Daiyu first came to the Jia mansion and met her love Jia Baoyu. Everyone in the Jia family was astonished by the incomparable beauty of Lin Daiyu when they saw her at the first sight, and so was Jia Baoyu. "It seems that I have met this lady." These were the murmurs of Jia Baoyu when he met her, suggesting their connection of destiny. Then the couple sowed their seed of love in heart until Jia confessed by citing a line from Romance of West Chamber, a romantic book that they coincidentally read together.

Lin and Jia reading Romance of West Chamber

In the following scenes, the audiences couldn't help feeling sorrowful because the couple were compelled to be apart. Though highly intelligent and divinely beautiful, Lin was a girl who was too sentimental and sarcastic with high self-esteem, and she suffered from a respiratory disease which implied a short life in that age. Her disposition and illness made the elders in Jia family thought her inappropriate for marrying Jia, which eventually led to her death out of a broken heart.

During the performance, the background music was provided by an orchestra, which consisted of both Chinese traditional musical instruments, such as erhu and pipa, and western ones like violin and cello. The music accompanied the play properly, constituting an enjoyable play of Yue opera.

The performance attracted more than a hundred audiences, including students and faculties of Wuhan University and some local citizens. Students of WHU have long shown interest in Chinese operas. Cheng Wanling, a postgraduate from School of Art, shared that she found a large number of peers in WHU appreciating the charm of Chinese operas. "It's almost a natural process to fall in love with Chinese operas", she added. And as Zhang Xiaojun said, the young generation will be obsessed with Yue opera once they watch and try to appreciate it.

All actresses answering a curtain call

(photo by Junjie)

Edited by Wang Wei and Hu Sijia

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