April 18, 2015  – The Legend of the Red Peony   楊枝露滴牡丹開

April 18, 2015 – The Legend of the Red Peony
楊枝露滴牡丹開

Vancouver Cantonese Opera presents “The Legend of the Red Peony” on April 18, 2015 (Saturday), at the Michael J. Fox Theatre, at 7:00 p.m.

One day in the Tang court, the Tang Emperor is having an audience with his officials when one of them tries to flatter him. He tells the Emperor how well he has governed the kingdom, and that everyone is enjoying a peaceful and prosperous life. The official says that even flowers benefit from his benevolent rule and at his command could all blossom beautifully at the same time.

His royal concubine, Lady Wu, is eager to please the Emperor, so she tells him she is willing to try on his behalf to make all flowers blossom at once. Then she writes up a decree and sends it to the Flower God to carry out that order.

The Flower God realizes that Lady Wu will become the first Empress in China and is a person to reckon with, so he beats the drum to tell all flowers to blossom at once. One of the flower fairies, Fairy Red Peony, refuses to obey the order. She thinks Lady Wu has no right to upset the natural order. The Flower God is furious and decides to punish Peony.

Meanwhile, in the mortal world, Lady Wu finds out that the peony flowers refuse to blossom out of season. She then orders that all the peonies be destroyed. A mortal called Man-hon, who is an ardent peony admirer, stands up to defend the innocent flowers against the magistrate’s order and willingly helps Peony to flee to a safe place. Peony is extremely touched by his sincerity and integrity. She wants to repay his kindness and so becomes his wife.

The Flower God finally finds out where Peony has been hiding in Loyang, and leads his army of gods to capture her. In the end, Peony is no match for these powerful enemies and is badly beaten. When Man-hon finds out about Peony’s injury, he is at a loss as to what to do. At that point the Spring Breeze God comes to his aid. He tells Man-hon to seek the Goddess of Mercy’s assistance.

Will Man-hon be able to revive Peony? Come and find out on April 18th, 2015 at the MJF Theatre.

唐高宗之武曌. 以高宗晚年多病, 因而臨朝執政. 帝一向愛植花卉, 武后為討其歡心,,時值隆冬, 仍思百花齊放, 於是寫下詔書上奏天庭, 懇使花神促令宮內各類花卉立即綻放. 花神接詔後, 因預知武后日後必趨大紅大紫, 於是擊起催花鼓, 促命百花齊放,

獨牡丹仙子紅萼, 以個性專橫之武后無端破壞循環氣節, 等如逆天行事, 拒不從命. 花神大怒, 從 天庭召 合雨, 電, 風, 雷各神, 一同駕電排雲下凡, 追蹤至洛陽, 紅萼雖力拒, 卻以體弱被毆至重傷垂死. 此際文翰正悲痛欲絕.

一向與紅萼深交之春風大哥, 卻趕來指引文翰拜上紫竹林, 乞請觀音大士賜施楊枝甘露, 俾紅萼服後得以痊癒. 文翰果從觀音大士手中獲取楊枝金露, 但紅萼服飲後仍無起色, 終於花榭人亡.

劇情發展至此, 台上出現文翰慈母, 催促文翰即與金家女成親. 花轎臨門之時, 文翰在一家簇擁下發覺金氏女之花容月貌, 正與紅萼一無異致. 原來觀音大士設法將牡丹之魂魄附於金家女, 眼前之新娘即紅萼牡丹. 最終, 文翰與紅萼在衆仙女相伴紅萼起舞下, 相相跪下拜堂成親, 有情人終成美眷

July 11, 2015 – The Romance of the Broken Mirror隋宮十載菱花夢

July 11, 2015 – The Romance of the Broken Mirror
隋宮十載菱花夢

Vancouver Cantonese Opera presents “The Romance of the Broken Mirror” on July 11, 2015 (Saturday), at the Michael J. Fox Theatre, at 7:00 p.m.

Seating plan (last updated May 28, 2015)

This opera is a tragic love story that takes place during the founding of the Sui Dynasty (581-618 A.D.), a time of chaos. Yang Yue, a Sui general, is leading an army to attack the Kingdom of Chen in the south, which could not resist the powerful Sui army and is losing the battle. It is arranged that the Princess Consort, Xu Deyan, should flee the capital with the important genealogy documents and bring them to safety. Before he departs, he says farewell to his wife, Princess Lechang. She breaks a bronze mirror into two halves. Each of them keeps one half so that these become the tokens of their reunion on a later day.

Meanwhile, Yang Yue’s army has arrived at the palace and is searching for the members of the royal household. In order to gain time for Deyan’s escape, Lechang bravely goes to talk to Yang Yue in disguise and flirts with him. When Yang Yue discovers her tricks and wants to kill her, she is willing to face death fearlessly. Yang Yue is impressed by her courage and sympathizes with her. He therefore wants to rescue her from the destruction of her kingdom. He asks her to impersonate his late wife, and arranges to have her and her son taken back to his home in the capital, Changan.

At the beginning, Yang Yue and Lechang just pretend to be a married couple. As time goes by, Lechang can feel Yang Yue’s true love for her; she decides to become his wife, not just in name. Ten years later, when Deyan is selling one half of the broken mirror on the street in Changan, he meets his son, Xiaode, and knows his wife is remarried. As soon as Yang Yue comes to know about the pledge of the broken mirror, he decides to make Lechang happy by sending her back to her former husband although his heart tells him not to. Yang Yue starts treating Lechang abusively, so she will leave him while Deyan feels Lechang should stay with Yang Yue, so they both refuse to have her back. Lechang gets caught between the two beloved – she feels she has betrayed Deyan for marrying Yang Yue and does not want to let Yang Yue down for his love and benevolence. The dilemma is too much for her. .

隋將楊越率兵征陳,陳朝兵敗,駙馬徐德言為抱宗卷逃亡,樂昌宮主見國將亡,與夫惜別,以破鏡為記,訂下破鏡重圓之約。隋將楊越殺入陳宮,樂昌先以美色緩兵,故意向楊越賣弄風騷,掩護駙馬徐德言抱宗卷逃亡。助駙馬脫險出宮,復願以死殉國。楊越敬其氣節,頓生愛憐之心,讓她冒認亡妻,將母子偕太傅顧存義同行帶回家中。

宮主初與楊越作假鳳虛凰,後被其真情打動終成夫婦。樂昌深得楊夫人與小姑雙卿歡心。十年後,德言長安收買破鏡遇子小德,方悉宮主另嫁,事被楊越聞知,決意仗義還妻。楊越假意對妻打罵,心頭幾番掙扎,終逼令樂昌母子離家,重投德言懷抱。楊母責子無情逐妻,楊越含淚吐露樂昌身世,及還妻苦衷。德言與楊越互相讓妻,欲知劇情結局, 請來欣賞隋宮十載菱花夢.

 

April 25, 2014 – Happy Marriage Achieved金鳳戲銀龍

April 25, 2014 – Happy Marriage Achieved
金鳳戲銀龍

Vancouver Cantonese Opera presents “Happy Marriage Achieved” on April 25th, 2014 (Friday), at the Michael J. Fox Theatre, at 7:00 p.m.

Seating plan (last updated: Feb 2, 2014)

Qiao Dan-feng, a brilliant girl with civil and military talents, is proficient in Chinese medicine. She is always at odds with Dai-Sangu, a woman quack opposite to her clinic. Zhang Zhong-chi, a marquis from Huainan, looks for his mother, who has left him in his childhood. Sangu disguises herself as Zhong-chi’s mother so as to cheat him for his fortune. Zhong-chi is fooled by Sangu and thinks that she is his mother.

Zhong-chi has a prenatal betrothal with Shima Jiao-tong; yet he has discord with Jiao-tong’s brother, which bothers the marriage.  Meanwhile, Jiaotong has a secret love with a nobleman and seeks help from Dan-feng in order to escape from the marriage with Zhong-chi. Thus Dan-feng disguises herself as Jiao-tong and decides to spoil the marriage. However, Zhong-chi and Dan-feng fall in love with each other when they first meet. Sangu learns that Dan-feng impersonates Jiao-tong and plans to unmask her. But Sangu herself is also a fake and cannot unveil Dan-feng’s plot. Eventually Zhong-chi and Dan-feng manage to have their wedding in the end.

奇女子喬丹鳳通文翰、精武藝更擅醫術;與對門為人貪婪勢利之王六醫生馬三姑勢如水火。淮南侯張仲墀幼年失母、出榜尋親。三姑覺得有機可乘,遂冒名與仲墀相認。喬丹鳳有一金蘭好友司馬焦桐與仲墀有指腹為婚之約;但焦桐兄長司馬劍琴一向不和,以至擱延婚事;而焦桐亦另有情郎,故焦桐聞得仲墀登門議親,便向丹鳳求救。丹鳳義不容辭願代焦桐與仲墀相見,想用言語逼他自動退婚;誰知二人見面,竟互生情愫。三姑原想揭發丹鳳假冒,但丹鳳亦示意三姑,彼此皆是假冒者;三姑為免被揭穿,唯有無可奈何任由丹鳳處理。

及後、皇帝在殿上選帥;三姑乘機求主上為仲墀賜婚,原來皇帝就是焦桐情郎,故特宣丹鳳晉見,見她精通韜略,决委她掛帥平遼;仲墀不服、私自出戰,被遼兵所敗。幸丹鳳駕舟相救,大獲全勝,仲墀因失職而遭責打,憤而負氣辱罵君王,劍琴乘機相逼丹鳳判斬仲墀;互相爭持不下、於是驚動皇帝親自審判;三姑遂揭穿眾人冒名之事,更在陰差陽錯之下認回丹鳳為其失散多年之女兒;皇帝封焦桐為后、並賜仲墀與丹鳳聯婚。

 

August 24, 2013 – The Legend of the Purple Hairpin 紫釵記

August 24, 2013 – The Legend of the Purple Hairpin
紫釵記

The Legend of the Purple Hairpin is written by Tong Dik Sang, a famous Cantonese opera dramatist, who based it on a Tang Dynasty novel, The Story of Huo Xiaoyu, and the classic Yuan Dynasty play, The Legend of the Purple Flute, by Tang Xianzu. This is another of Tong Dik Sang’s operas which eulogize the theme of love and devotion.

In the Tang Dynasty, a young scholar, Li Yi, has travelled to the capital, Changan, to take the national civil examination. During his stay in the capital, he is told that a pretty young woman who loves to dress in purple admires his poetry greatly. She is a courtesan named Huo Xiaoyu. He hopes that he will have a chance to meet her. On the evening of the Lantern Festival*, he and his friends roam around the city to enjoy the magnificent lanterns and the beautiful maidens strolling by as they look for the one dressed in purple.

Li Yi by chance picks up a purple hairpin that belongs to Huo Xiaoyu, who falls in love with him at first sight. She gives him the hairpin as a token of her love for him. Li Yi’s close friend persuades him to go to her family to ask for her hand. Xiaoyu’s mother is eager to have a talented son-in-law to restore their family fortune and agrees to the marriage proposal. The couple have the informal wedding that same night.

The next day after the wedding, the examination result is announced. When Li Yi is awarded the first place in the examination, he and his wife, Xiaoyu, are overjoyed with this good news. However, good fortune soon turns into a disaster for a high court official’s daughter has a chance meeting with Li Yi on the night of the Lantern Festival and she too falls in love with him. She begs her father to arrange a marriage, so she can marry Li Yi. When Official Lo proposes the marriage to Li Yi, he refuses because he considers himself married to Xiaoyu. His refusal angers Official Lo, who then sends Li Yi to the frontier as a reprimand and so forces the newly-wed couple to separate from each other.

While Li Yi is away for three long years without any means of correspondence with his wife, Xiaoyu’s livelihood becomes harder as days go by. She stops being a courtesan after the marriage, so she has to rely on pawning her jewellery to support her family and Li Yi’s downtrodden friend. When Li Yi returns from his frontier posting, Official Lo detains him in his house in order to force the young man to marry his daughter. Li Yi is told if he refuses, Official Lo will expose his scheme against the state. If this happens not only he but his family will also be punished. Li Yi still rejects the proposal and tries to kill himself, but Official Lo continues with the wedding preparation.

Meanwhile, Xiaoyu is forced to sell off her precious purple hairpin. She then comes to know that the Lo family has bought the hairpin for their daughter’s wedding to Li Yi. Helpless and heartbroken, Xiaoyou goes to pray in the temple, where she accidentally meets a mysterious person in a yellow robe. He helps Li Yi to see Xiaoyu again, but Li Yi is taken by force back to the Lo family. At the mysterious man’s suggestion, Xiaoyu goes to Official Lo’s mansion to demand the release of her husband. At her arrival, the Lo household is busy preparing for the wedding ceremony. Her presence infuriates Official Lo, who devises a scheme to kill her right in the main hall.

In the nick of time, the man in the yellow robe appears. He reveals his true identity, that of the Fourth Prince. He is under the Emperor’s instructions to investigate Official Lo for treason. Now that he has the needed evidence, he arrests Official Lo. In the end, Li Yi’s and Xiaoyu’s devotion and love for each other are justly rewarded and they are able to be formally married.

紫釵記是任、白仙鳳鳴劇團的首本名劇。是已故名編劇家唐師滌生先生根據明代戲劇大師湯顯祖【玉茗堂】四記之首的紫釵記改編而成。
話說隴西才子李益與長安名妓霍小玉於元宵邂逅,李益深感與小玉有緣、向她求婚;李益更願與小玉生則同衾、死則同穴。忽然傳來喜訊,李益欽點狀元;更因於霍小玉家拜謝神恩,所以拒絕即時到盧太尉府堂拜謁;此舉觸怒太尉,他為洩心頭之忿、決定派李益到塞外任參軍。李益一去三年、音訊全無;小玉思郎成病,經濟更陷困境,唯有忍痛吩咐侯景先把用作上頭之用的紫玉釵典賣。原來三年來盧太尉把李益的書函暗中沒收、三年後召他回長安,但不許他回家、要先來拜府;此時假冒的鮑三娘到太尉府、獻上紫釵並偽稱小玉已於上月改嫁、故賣去舊物;太尉勸李益改聘其女燕貞為妻;李益心如絞碎、準備吞釵自盡。太尉怒不可遏、更誣告李益詩中有叛國之意;李益恐連累家人、無奈逼於就範。小玉誤會李益薄倖、悲痛莫名。小玉在崇敬寺巧遇黃衫客並向其細訴自己與李益的事、激起黃衫客鋤強扶弱之心。黃衫客強把李益帶到小玉家中、讓二人重聚;李益遂把太尉威逼及自己吞釵拒婚之事告之、並拿出紫釵作証;二人和好如初;但好景不常、盧太尉師命人强搶李益回府即時與燕貞成婚。黃衫客知悉此突變,告知小玉李益並未負心、小玉才是狀元妻、他囑小玉戴鳳冠、披霞珮到太尉府據理爭夫。小玉果然闖進府內、更直斥太尉恃勢欺人、太尉一怒之下、要誣告李益叛逆之罪;小玉恐怕李益被誅九族;唯有跪向太尉求情;此時黃衫客即四王爺登堂、並追問太尉既知李益有被誅九族之罪、為何仍要以女妻之,太尉無言以對;韋夏卿亦挺身作証指斥太尉壓逼李益拋棄妻子、更把好友崔允明打死;太尉見事敗、忙跪下求情。黃衫客秉公辦理、罷免太尉官職、更親自為媒、讓李益與小玉再續紫釵緣。