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The Best Interpretation of Dream of the Red Chamber

9 May 2010

Yue Opera (越剧), an all-female performing art, was initiated in Zhejiang and accomplished in Shanghai, eventually grew into the second most popular opera form in China after Beijing Opera (which is initiated in Anhui in southern China) with Dream of the Red Chamber being its best classic repertoire.

Xu Yulan (徐玉兰, left) as Baoyu (贾宝玉) and Wang Wenjun (王文娟) as Black Jade (林黛玉, right)

In fact the achievement of the Yue Opera Dream of the Red Chamber with the leading role played by Xu Yulan and Wang Wenjun has a monumental significance beyond Yue Opera and beyond all Chinese operas. To this day, Wang's interpretation of Black Jade and Xu's portrayal of Baoyu are the most articulated and sophisticated version ever seen on stage and screen, credited to the masters' skillful craft and subtle revelation of the characters' multi-layered temperament and deep-embedded spiritual dimension.

Black Jade playing music in her Bamboo Court residence (潇湘馆)

The following shows the stage settings for Yue Opera (越剧) Dream of the Red Chamber, one of the four greatest Chinese classic novels:

Master Jia's meeting room where he received a bad report regarding his underachiever son.

Granny Jia's sitting room where she received daily greetings from her descendants.

Garden of Great Vision where Granny Jia hosted barbecue party for her family members and Black Jade held funeral ceremony for fallen flowers.

Underachiever boy's studio where he practiced eyebrow drawing craft on the face of his girl servant.

Black Jade's bedroom where she burned her poems and died.

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