From September 13th to 14th, the Peking Opera New Dragon Gate Inn, which stars SHI Yihong, a senior female role player of the MEI School, will be staged at the NCPA Theatre during the International Theatre Festival 2019. The Peking Opera New Dragon Gate Inn, adapted from a Hong Kong martial arts film of the same title, rebuilds the cinematic story in the form of traditional opera.
In 1992, the film New Dragon Gate Inn
premiered as a landmark masterpiece in the history of martial arts films. The story takes place during the reign of Emperor Yingzong of Ming, when General ZHOU Huai’an, to protect a late loyal minister’s only child, runs westward to avoid killers of the Eastern Depot. He gets help from the female innkeeper JIN Xiangyu and the chivalrous girl QIU Moyan, with whom he is later romantically involved.
The traditional Chinese martial arts culture contains not only the Confucian spirit, which advocates dying for righteousness and working hard for a promising future, but also the Taoist spirit, which recommends pursuing nature. The two spirits are much similar to the chivalrous spirit implied in the Peking Opera art. Based on this, the Peking Opera New Dragon Gate Inn retains the main storyline and character relationship in the film, and renders the story with the traditional opera technique to highlight the true forthright and sincere of chivalrous people. The patriotism is also carried forward with the traditional opera spirit.
The Peking Opera New Dragon Gate Inn
is a bold innovation made by SHI Yihong and her team on the basis of the classics. The opera is written by the librettist XIN Fuchen and produced with director HU Xuehua. Peking Opera artist SHI Yihong plays two roles: JIN Xiangyu and QIU Moyan. When playing JIN Xiangyu, she looks shrewish, pretty and charming and dares to start a fight. However when playing the righteous chivalrous girl QIU Moyan, she sings in the CHENG School’s style, venting her inner anguish with great eloquence. SHI Yihong said in an interview, “The chivalrous spirit, which is full of feelings for home and country, flows in the blood of Chinese people. The Peking Opera New Dragon Gate Inn
happens to highlight such a chivalrous spirit.”
The Peking Opera New Dragon Gate Inn is also attractive in terms of stage presentation. The Western music and traditional Peking Opera can be found throughout the opera; the freehand ceiling and simple, flexible stage scenery look concisely beautiful. After watching the opera, LU Yan, Mr. MEI Lanfang’s adopted daughter and a lifelong judge at the Oscar Academy Awards, said, “The New Dragon Gate Inn is a Peking Opera work suitable for both the young and the old. It can enable young people to gain a better understanding of Peking Opera and take a fancy to it, because all excellent elements of the Peking Opera are presented with the latest technique in it.”
It is worth mentioning that September 13th
is the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival, when the Peking Opera New Dragon Gate Inn
will offer the audience a golden opportunity to get closer to traditional culture.