A newly adapted Yu Opera "Madam Weijing" premiered at the Chang'an Grand Theatre in Beijing on July 14, marking the beginning of an exhibition for outstanding Henan drama. The exhibition will last for 10 days, and "Madam Weijing" as well as nine other Yu operas will be on show in the capital.
The exhibition is hosted by the Henan Cultural Department, the Henan Yu Opera Academy and the Chinese Opera Arts Center of Henan. Yu Opera originates from Henan province, in central China, and is therefore also called Henan Opera. It is one of the five leading styles in Chinese opera.
The opera "Madam Weijing" is set in seventh-century China during the Tang Dynasty. When a rebellion surges in Southern Fujian province, Madam Weijing rejoins the army as a general commander at the age of 72 to serve her country and put down the rebellion. Madam Weijing is from Henan and one of the founders of Tang Dynasty. Wang Hui, a famous Yu opera artist, plays the leading role. A group of renowned artists have contributed to the opera.
Wang Hui recreates Madam Weijing as a wise and brave female politician well versed in both the pen and the gun. Wang Hui studied singing under well-known Yu Opera master Chang Xiangyu. Besides the traditional Yu singing style, the opera also incorporates folk singing from Fujian province. The director Zhang Ping said he wanted to present Henan's rich culture and the splendid history of Tang Dynasty along with modern cultural perspectives within this opera in order to give a full picture of Henan's cultural development.
The opera also challenges the stereotype that Yu opera are just for singing. Instead, the show adds weight to martial arts. These acts are designed by Zhang Siquan, former leader of the Beijing Opera Youth League, who staged three martial arts scenes with different performing styles.
The exhibition displays all the achievements of Henan opera arts and promotes Chinese opera's rich inheritance.