NCPA opera commission LAN Huahua
made its debut on the evening of October 1st
. Chinese opera singers, together with NCPA Chorus, China NCPA Orchestra and Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, gave a wonderful performance under the baton of ZHANG Guoyong.
The performance had a strong flavour of Northern Shaanxi Photo by XIAO Yi
Conductor ZHANG Guoyong Photo by WANG Xiaojing
The performance began with the tune of banhu that had a strong flavour of Northern Shaanxi. A young man and girl, who were Luotuozi and LAN Huahua, were showing each other great tenderness and making out with each other passionately. However, It made talk and even a stir among the villagers of Lanjiahe that LAN Huahua had rendezoused with Luotuozi in the field. The composer turned this gossip into a song, sung for nearly seven minutes, and its melody interwoven with the orchestral tunes. The singers at NCPA Chorus rendered the nosy parkers’ image vividly. Ganyang, a Squire ZHOU's servent, secretly loved LAN Huhua. The aria “I’m like a silent sheep in the crowd” visualised Ganyang’s image, revealing how much he felt inferior and sentimental. The dark musical mode, which then became bright, proclaimed his deep feeling for LAN Huahua.
A gossip spread among the villagers
Photo by WANG Xiaojing
Act 2 began with a peaceful melody accompanied by the sound of percussion instruments such as tambourine and knocking bell, which brought out the best in the image of a caravan moving forward slowly with the intermittent tinkle of camel bells. The chorus and Luotuozi jointly sang a Chinese-style song, which said, “...wild geese fly southwards in the sky...”. The lyrics speak peacefully in a sweet tone. The fresh and beautiful theme song “...the full moon hangs in the sky...” was cross-space antiphonal singing of LAN Huahua and Luotuozi, who were missing each other in the singing.
LAN Huahua and Luotuozi missed each other in the singing Photo by WANG Xiaojing
Suddenly, the music style was changed, and the audience turned their attention to Squire ZHOU. He played tricks on LAN Huahua and forced her to marry Ganyang. When LAN Huahua said frankly that she had been pregnant, her words hit Ganyang like a thunderbolt, and Ganyang, as a male traditionalist, was thoroughly humiliated. The harmonic became cool-toned and sounded very dissonant. Thus, with increasing intensification of the dramatic conflict, Ganyang going out and Squire ZHOU came unasked into LAN Huahua's house, which surprised her. Squire ZHOU attempted to molest LAN Huahua, but got the cheese. Ashamed into anger, he threatened to make it public that LAN Huahua had been pregnant, and finally drove her out of Lanjiahe village.
LAN Huahua was forced to marry Ganyang Photo by WANG Xiaojing
LAN Huahua was driven desperate and began to sing the aria “...dead and living dim and draw apart...”. The hoarse high voice expressed her faithful love for Luotuozi, and as the song came to an end, she plunged into the surging Yellow River. At the end of the opera, the villagers sang the ensemble “LAN Huahua”, which fell into four parts, evoking this girl's legend.
The villagers sang the ensemble “LAN Huahua” Photo by WANG Xiaojing
The director CHEN Xinyi had produced tragic story by true-to-life dramatic and visual techniques. Opera singers including ZHAO Lili, GUAN Zhijing, XUE Haoyin, ZHANG Yingxi, LIU Songhu and HAO Miao, starred in the opera. On the second day, another group including LI Xintong, YANG Qi, YANG Yi, KOU Jing, WANG Zenan, LI Yang, WANG Hexiang and CHEN Guanfu will give the performance, and this opera will be staged until October 5th.