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 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

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。

 

Roles

There are six set roles:

  1. mun mo sung (文武生) martial man of letters; the clean-shaven scholar-warrior
  2. siu sung (小生) ‘young gentleman’; young scholar
  3. fa dan (花旦) ‘flower’ of the ball; young belle
  4. yee fa (二花) transliteration: ‘second flower’; supporting female
  5. chou sung (丑生) clown
  6. mo sung (武生) bearded male warrior

Makeup

Applying makeup for Cantonese opera is a long and specialized process.

One of the most common styles is the “white and red face”: an application of white foundation, with red around the eyes and on the cheeks. The eyebrows are sometimes elongated. Lipstick is usually bright red.

Actors are given temporary facelifts by holding the skin up with a ribbon on the back of the head. This lifts the corners of the eyes, producing an authoritative look.

Each role has its own style of make-up: the clown has a large white spot in the middle of his face, for example. A sick character has a thin red line pointing upwards in between his eyebrows. Aggressive and frustrated character roles often have a “ying hong jee” (an arrow shape fading into the forehead) in between the eyebrows.

Strong male characters wear “hoy meen” (開面; “open face”) makeup. Each character’s makeup has its own distinct characteristics, with symbolic patterns and coloration.