LI HAIYAN, ZHEN JIANHUA, FIRST TROUPE OF CHINA NATIONAL PEKING OPERA COMPANY
Ying Tai Kang Hun - Yingtai Resists Marriage DVD
Region Code All. Released in 2005 and marking the 50th anniversary of China Peking Opera Theatre. Yingtai Resists Marriage was adapted by a master of Peking opera Cheng Yanqiu and was his final work. It has been likened to Romeo & Juliet. Zhu Yingtai, from Shangyu, is a beautiful women who disguises herself as a man travelling to Hangzhou to attend an academy. On the way she meets Liang Shanbo, who was a school friend of hers. The two become lovers for three years, the fact Zhu is a women, unbeknown to the other students. Wishing to marry, Zhu arranges the marriage of Liang with her ficticious sister, which he accepts. However, Zhu's parents arrange her marriage to another man, which she at first refuses, but later begrungingly accepts. Liang Shanbo then turns up and proposes, but Zhu declines and explains her situation. A few days later Liang dies from a broken heart. On the way to her future husband's home she visits the grave of Liang Shanbo. She jumps into the cracked tomb and dies. A pair of butterflies take to the air, representing Liang and Zhu, reunited again.
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ZHANG JIANGUO, GU QIAN, THIRD TROUPE OF CHINA NATIONAL PEKING OPERA COMPANY
Fan Jin Zhong Ju - Fan Jin Passed the Imperial Exam DVD
Region Code All, released in 2005. Adapted from the 18th century satire, The Scholars. Fan Jin, a poor student, took the national imperial examination on numerous occasions and failed each time. To take the exam again, his classmates and friends paid for his travel expenses. At the exam, other students made fun of his poor appearance, and on the way home he heard, falsely, that he had failed again. However when he got home he discovered he had passed. The news made him so excited his father-in-law had to calm him down.
CHEN SHUFANG, YU WANZENG, THIRD TROUPE OF CHINA NATIONAL PEKING OPERA COMPANY
Feng Huan Chao - The Return of the Phoenix to the Nest DVD
Region Code All. Released in 2005. A complicated love story. A senior court minister, Cheng Pu, has two daughters, the elder, and rather plain looking, Xueyan, and the younger, beautiful, Xue'e. Cheng and his friend Zhu Huanran take a trip to the country and meet Mu Juyi, the son of another old friend. Cheng likes Mu and invites him to his birthday party in the hope he would marry Xue'e. His wife however, wants to marry the elder daughter off first, as she is her daughter and Xue'e the concubine's daughter. Zhu Huanran asks for the 'hand of young Lady Cheng' and Lady Cheng assumes he is Mu. Mu himself visits the house that evening and Xueyan goes to see him during the night, pretending she is the younger daughter. Repelled by her looks, Mu flees the house, and soon comes across Zhu, who decides he wants to marry Xue'e himself. Cheng Pu is ordered back to the battlefield and meets Mu on the road. Mu makes an excuse why he left his house so suddenly and is recruited into Cheng's squadron. Meanwhile Zhu goes to meet his bride posing as Mu. Lady Cheng sends Xueyan as his bride. Zhu discovers he has the wrong bride on his wedding night. During a battle, Lady Cheng wants to take refuge in Zhu's house, and Xue'e refuses to go with her. Instead she goes to her father's camp, who brings up the wedding proposal to Mu again. He refuses, but is forced to accept. He meets his bride, who turns out to be Xue'e. realizes the mistake, and apologies to Xue'e. In the end, they all meet up, Zheng bringing his wife and mother-in-law. Glad to say, everyone is happy. Phew.
LI SHENGSU, ZHANG WEI, GUAN BO, FIRST TROUPE OF CHINA NATIONAL PEKING OPERA COMPANY
Xie Yao Huan - Heroine Xie Yaohuan (2 DVDs)
Region Code All. Xie Yao Huan was created by the playwright Tian Han in 1961. During the Tang Dynasty reign of Empress Wu Zetian, farmers in the southern region of the Yangtze River joined outlaws at Tai Lake as they were being oppressed. Xie Yaohuan, an official, asked the rulers to appease the farmers. She is promoted to imperial censor by the Empress, who sends her on an inspection tour of south China. When she goes to Suzhou, she notices that Wu Hong ( son of a powerful courtier, Wu Sansi) and Cai Shaobing (brother of a secret police official, Lai Junchen) were terrorizing the locals, and a good official, called Yuan Xingjiang. She took them to the mandarin's court, where Wu Hong and Cai Shaobing were found guilty. The guilty pair absconded, and Xie ordered the beheading of Cai and bludgeoned Wu. She soon after married Yuan Xingjiang. Wu Sansi and Lai Junchen drew up a revenge plan and falsely accused Xie of having connections with criminals. Empress Wu Zetian investigated the case herself, and ordered the execution of Lai Junchen, dismissed Wu Sansi and enobled Xie Yaohuan to take up a new post. However, she declined the new posting, to remain with her husband in Tai Lake.
ZHANG SEN, ZHAO ZHIQIANG, THIRD TROUPE OF CHINA NATIONAL PEKING OPERA COMPANY
Dao Wang Fen - Rob the Prince's Tomb DVD
Region Code All. The story was adapted from the classic novel Water Margin, about an army under the Liangsham outlaw Song Jiang, that rebelled against the corrupt government at the end of the North Song Dynasty. Shi Qian, Yang Xiong and Shi Xiu went to Liangshan to shelter. There, they heard that Hou Huai, son of an official, and outlaw Xue Xian, colluded to steal from the tomb of Prince Hao. Shi Qian assigned his friend Jia Ya to intercept the theives, who Shi Qian fought and killed.
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LI SHENGSU, ZHANG WEI, FIRST TROUPE OF CHINA NATIONAL PEKING OPERA COMPANY
Luo Shen - Ode to the Goddess of Luo River DVD
Region Code All. Cao Zhi (AD192-232) was the younger brother of Cao Pi (AD187-226), the ruler of the Kingdom of Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He was a respected poet, and Ode to the Goddess of Luo River was his most revered work. Cao Zhi fell in love with Zhen Mi, a beautiful and charming daughter of a high ranking official. However, her father arranged her marriage to the son of another kingdom. After a feud, Zhen Mi ended up having to marry Cao Zhi's brother. She commited suicide by jumping into the Luo River. Cao Zhi composed the poem, describing how he fell in love with, and was forced to leave the goddess, and the divergence of the living and the dead.
DENG MING. HUANG BINQIANG, LI HONGMEI, SECOND TROUPE OF CHINA NATIONAL PEKING OPERA COMPANY
Si Lang Tan Mu - Silang Visits His Mother (2 DVDs)
Region Code All. A famous play of the Peking Opera repertroire. Yang Si Lang is the fourth son of the powerful Yang family. He was captured by northern Liao province in a battle with his family, and gave himself a Liao style name to conceal his identity. He married a Liao princess, Tie Jang. 15 years later, the military, led by the Yang family attacked Liao again, and Silang wanted to meet his mother who had gone to the border. On the way he was captured by his nephew, but finally met his mother. After a brief reunion, Silang hurried back to Liao, and was captured by the Liao military. Tie Jang's mother concluded he was in fact one of the Yang family, and ordered his beheading. Tie Hing begged her mother to save him and eventually she relented, saving his life.
ZHAO BAOXIU, YANG CHI, ZHENG YAN, FIRST TROUPE OF CHINA NATIONAL PEKING OPERA COMPANY
Li Kui Tan Mu - Li Kui Visits His Mother DVD
Region Code All. Li Kui on his way to meet his mother to bring her to Liangshan, came across Liu Gui, who was pretending to be Li Kui and holding people up for money in his name. They fought, and Li Gui explained, falsely, that he had to feed his 90 year old mother and had no choice. Later, Li Kui found out this was a lie, and moreover, Li Gui was plotting to capture him. Furious, Li Kui killed Li Gui, while his wife escaped. Li Kui reached his mother, and started to carry her on his back to Liangshan. She complained she was thirsty, but while getting her some water, tigers killed her. Li Gui then killed the tigers. A squire, Cao, plotted with Li Gui's widow to capture Li Kui and hand him over for a reward. They drugged and captured him, while Li Kui's family attempted to set him free.
GUAN BO, CHEN GUOSEN, ZHEN JIANHUA, FIRST TROUPE OF CHINA NATIONAL PEKING OPERA COMPANY
Chun Cao Chuang Tang - Chuncao Makes Her Way Into the Court DVD
Region Code All. During Spring, the prime minister's daughter Li Banyue visited Mount Hua with her maid, Chuncao. They ran into Wu Du, son of a Minister, who attempted to molest Li. A scholar, called Xue Meiting witnessed this and rushed to help Li. However, he was arrested and charged. Wu's mother, urged the magistrate, Hu Jin, to execute Xue. When Chuncao heard this, she rushed to the courtroom and said that Xue was the son-in-law of the prime minister. Magistrate Hu sent a letter to the prime minister for verification. Li and Chuncao explained the situation, and asked him to save Xue. However, her father sent a letter to order Xue's execution. Li and Chuncao intercepted the letter and changed it, confirming Xue to be his son-in-law. Magistrate Hu, then sent Xue to the capital, as the prime minister's son-in-law. The Emperor rewarded them, and prime minister Li accepted he was his son-in-law, so as not to defy the emperor.
LI SHENGSU, YU KUIZHI, FIRST TROUPE OF CHINA NATIONAL PEKING OPERA COMPANY
Da Yu Sha Jia - Fishermen's Revenge DVD
Region Code All. Xiao En, lived as a fisherman with his daughter, Guiyeng. Both excelled at martial arts. In his county, the magistrate had illegally directed the collection of fishing tax to Ding, a landlord who tried to get as much as he could from the fishermen. Despite the difficutlies of making a living from fishing, the landlord kept pressing them for more money. A cohort of the landlord came across Xiao and his friends. They denounced the tax collector and warned him to back off. On hearing about this, Ding dispatched a gang of roughnecks to Xiao's cottage to extort money. The roughnecks were poor fighters and were beaten by Xiao and his daughter. The characters in this story and very popular and are sometimes made into handicrafts in China. The image of the fisherman and his daughter in the boat has come to symbolize the struggle between the working classes and feudal oppression.
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