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Yueju Opera: Cry At the Memorial Temple
When the Kingdom Is about to Be Sacked

7 April 2013
 

"With a broken heart, I rush into the founding father's memorial temple yard."

   

"Founding Emperor and his first premier, wise and loyal Zhuge Liang, along with his astonishingly brave generals fought tooth and nail in their struggle to establish a magnificent kingdom near Chongqing that is the only authentic inheritor of the Great Han Dynasty at the time."

   

"We expected this wonderful country to last long for a million years, and no one foresaw, not even that wise and loyal Zhuge Liang, that it could collapse during the reign of the second generation."

   

"The foreign collaborator has fooled the head of the state by saying that it is the trend of the world programmed by the Heaven for all kingdoms to relinquish their sovereign right to a new land order under a super lord; and the corrupted eunuch has hijacked the power and lead the country into a trap dug by its enemies."

   

"The loyal official tried to save the situation but only lost his own position, and the courageous general is out of the country unable to return to rescue the kingdom."

   

"The time to change the national flag is looming, doesn't the founding father know what is happening?"

   

"Your successors are so weak, and now what you ever secured for the kingdom are all gone with the wind."

   

"The night deepens and is loud with winds, while the celestial single eye shrouded in dark haze."

   

"The air is suffocating and the land is broken - the kingdom's last breath is drawing."

   

"What a hellish nightmare I'm dreaming ...."

   

Cry at Memorial Temple is one of the two monumental Yueju Opera dramas in Xu style Yueju, which is founded by Xu Yulan (徐玉兰), one of the ten Yueju Sisters (越剧十姐妹) on Yueju Opera stage. The another unforgettable role she portrayed is the leading male character Jia Baoyu (Pao Yu) in Dream of the Red Chamber. Xu's interpretation of Jia Baoyu is so vivid and so faithful to the novel, that so far no one has ever surpassed her achievement either on stage or on screen, which is just like the superb portrayal of Lin Daiyu (Black Jade) by her stage partner Wang Wenjuan (王文娟), the only one who can exhibit both the character's physique and soul.

Xu Yulan created the most upbeat and robust male singing style in Yueju Opera, which proves that the all-women Yueju Opera doesn't have to be moaning and lamenting all the time, but can wail out loud and cry the heart out and express a heroic passion without losing an unique feminine appeal. Other uplifting Yueju singing styles for male stage roles include Fan Ruijuan's (范瑞娟) Fan Style.

Xu's Cry at Memorial Temple is extremely difficult for actors to perform. Since it was staged sixty years ago, no one dared to take the entire play to the stage as it not only requires an extraordinary high vocal range typical for tenors in Italian Opera but remarkable kung fu stunts. It was not until last month the record was broken when one of her most talented students staged the whole drama in Shanghai under the watchful eye of Xu Yulan.

 
 
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