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China's Red Operas (1)
红戏会

25 May 2011
 

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鸠山:

人不为己天诛地灭,
人不为自己是发痴。

李玉和:

你活着就是为了这个大道理?
所以光临中国来发痴。
搞什么东亚共荣圈,
说什么中日弟兄象连理枝。
共荣圈大片土地被掠夺,
亲兄弟无数人民遭惨死。
我晓得老虎不会不吃人,
野心家永远不会变宗旨。

Qian Sijian (钱思剑) as anti-Japanese resistance hero Li Yuhe (李玉和)
Wang Mingdao (王明道) as Japanese military police chief Hatoyama (鸠山)

 
 

http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/7VBVuvn5dX8/

李玉和:

山河破碎日月不圆家难圆,
国家兴亡我们全都有责任。
只有软骨头才摇尾乞怜降敌人,
苟且偷生比鸿毛轻。
求解放惟有披荆斩棘作斗争,
我愿为劳苦大众献出我一生。
如今这最后时刻已来临,
为革命牺牲我死无遗恨。

Qian Sijian (钱思剑) as anti-Japanese resistance hero Li Yuhe (李玉和)
Ma Lili (马莉莉) as Granny Li (李奶奶)
Mao Shanyu (茅善玉) as Li Yuhe's daughter Li Tiemei (李铁梅)
Playwright: Ling Dake, Xia Jianqing (凌大可、夏剑青)
Shanghai Huju Opera Troupe (上海沪剧院)

 

Li Yuhe:

我生如闪电,死是彗星,

I live like lightening
Bringing light
To the sky of night;
I'll die like a comet
Disappearing into dark space
Without a trace.

Most people do not realize they have a power that not only can sway their own mood, but the collective consciousness. Yes, this special power is the sound that we voice, particularly the sound formulated with a special rhythm or carrying a distinctive message. Ancient Chinese knew this well thus did a great deal of study on how the sound should be shaped. In The Rites, one of the four Confucius classics compiled before the creation of Christianity, there are chapters solely dedicated to the subject. The following are the passages from chapter The Essence of the Music:

凡音之起,由人心生也是故其哀心感者,其声噍以杀;其乐心感者,其声啴以缓;其喜心感者,其声发以散;其怒心感者,其声粗以厉;其敬心感者,其声直以廉;其爱心感者,其声和以柔。六者,非性也,感于物而后动。是故先王慎所以感之者。故礼以道其志,乐以和其声,政以一其行,刑以防其奸。礼乐刑政,其极一也,所以同民心而出治道也。是故,治世之音安以乐,其政和。乱世之音怨以怒,其政乖。亡国之音哀以思,其民困。声音之道,与政通矣。

The sound, in particular the melodic sound, is an audio expression of our mind … so the ancient kings carefully promoted appropriate tunes to nurture a constructive community spirit, and regarded music, along with administration, rites and laws, as four essential instruments of governance. … By judging popular music we can gain insight into a kingdom's current situation and possible destination: While smooth and measured tempo echoes a society in a good order, rapid and explosive beat reflects the community in distress and chaos. If the rhythm is sluggish and dives onto low note, we know its people is lost and the nation could be doomed.

The late Chinese leader Mao Zedong was the grand inheritor of China's audio-application tradition and the eminent master on utilizing such force, which assisted him to elevate the collective psyche and helped the nation to rise above the occasion in the crucial moment of life and death. But the master is long gone, and for decades established Chinese wisdom has been brutally pushed aside to make room for the imported ideologies, although most of them are much less articulated, some even rather misleading and destructive. In the audio field, moaning, muttering, uttering and yelling, that are employed to convey the sentiment of hopeless self-pity or release an urge towards primitive desire, replaced upbeat folk songs and sophisticated local operas.

Then there came a man named Bo Xilai, and Mr. Bo became the chief of Chongqing, and people of Chongqing start to sing "red" songs (唱红歌) with lyrics delivering positive messages about life and about the world.

It is a brush of fresh air from the past and from the tradition of the East.

Shanghai, the birthplace of CCP and the cradle of modern China, catches a whiff and decides to renew audio-landscape with its own characteristics. It goes for Red Opera movement (唱红戏) and invites opera artists from all over the country to perform contemporary dramas in Shanghai, which is unprecedented in history when the scale of the joint presentation is concerned.

Being the authentic hosting opera, Huju (沪剧, native Shanghai Opera) is well equipped to interpret contemporary themes and readily prepared for the audio feast since it has a pool of repertoires rendered in "red", given two of the most popular "Model Operas" in the form of Beijing Opera - The Red Lantern (红灯记) and Shajia Lake (沙家浜, or 芦荡火种, Seeds of Fire in Reed Marshes) - were adapted from Shanghai Opera, despite on the process some delicate human touch is lost.

In the recent years, Shanghai artists restaged the two opera shows in the original drama scripts, with the Red Lantern presented by Shanghai Huju Opera Troupe (上海沪剧院) especially popular among opera-goers. Yuan Binzhong (袁滨忠) was the first person ever played the role of Li Yuhe in Chinese opera. His distinctive Yuan-singing-style, that is bright like sunbeam and crispy as a cool mountain stream, and his engaged yet subtle depict of a man who is not afraid to fight and die for his people, has made him, along with Qian Haoliang (钱浩梁), the first person played Li Yuhe in Beijing Opera, unforgettable icons on China's opera stage. When Mr Qian Sijian began to learn Shanghai Opera, Yuan Binzhong was long dead at a rather young age leaving no disciples behind him but some audio materials on tapes and lots memories in his colleagues minds, which, nevertheless, did not deter Qian from pursuing Yuan's legacy and becoming an accomplished Yuan style inheritor. He has succeeded, which is why we have an opportunity to appreciate this masterpiece in wonderful Yuan-style today.

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RELATED:

CCP member Wang Xiaohe (王孝和) grinned confidently and proudly in the courtroom

Wang smiled his way to the execution ground.

(The above photos were taken in 1948, shortly before the corrupted and brutal Nationalist Party lost the entire mainland and fled to Taiwan)

Wang Xiaohe, born in 1924 in Shanghai, became an underground CCP member at 17 and was arrested by the Nationalist Government 7 years later. He refused to betray his faith and wrote 3 letters after he was sentenced to death, urging his comrades to keep fighting for social justice and ensure them that China's future will be bright. He was killed at Tilanqiao Prison (提篮桥监狱), by then he was only 24.


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