I really like when random surfing is leading to something interesting. I was after a certain picture of Cheng Yanqiu (found some really stunning photos btw.), and I met a play I didn’t know before, 《红拂传》Hong Fu Zhuan (The Legend of Hong Fu). Interestingly, every Google hit about the jingju version was leading to audio recordings from the 20-30s.
“Is this play extinct or what?”, I thought.
Wikipedia is providing some insight into the story of Hong Fu Nü, the Lady in Red, but the main point of interest for me was that the jingju play based on this story is one of Cheng Yanqiu’s representative works from his early years. After that, it wasn’t staged until the 80s, and then it disappeared again until present day. Fortunately Cheng Yanqiu passed on this play to Wang Yinqiu in the 40s.
→ 京剧《红拂传》Hong Fu Zhuan (The Legend of Hong Fu) – double sword dance [DOWNLOAD] 36MB
Performed by Chi Xiaoqiu.
After 30 years, Hong Fu Zhuan was staged by the Beijing Xicheng District Cultural Center in Mei Lanfang Grand Theater on 10 August 2011.
BTV News 2011-08-11: Lost classic returns to stage [DOWNLOAD]
I found Xue Chao’s wrist movement at 0:55 kinda impressive. :)
Xue Chao (薛超) in the leading role was performing this drama for the first time. He learnt the play from his teacher, famous Cheng school artist Wang Yinqiu (王吟秋), direct disciple of Cheng Yanqiu, also the master of well-known Cheng school actress Chi Xiaoqiu.
This production was also starring Yang Naiqing (杨乃庆) as general Li Jing, Jing Lianlian (景琏琏) as Zhang Zhongjian (aka. Qiu Ranke), and the role of Liu Wenjing was given to female laosheng Men Shuting (门书婷).
And why is this opera so neglected? The answer is simple: the play is hard. Also, the single teacher who knew it, Wang Yinqiu, is not with us any more. (He was murdered in 2001 in his apartment, that’s a nasty story, I won’t elaborate here.)