The Butterfly Dream: Matching Making 2019 【蝴蝶梦:说亲】

The Butterfly Dream: Matching Making 2019  【蝴蝶梦:说亲】

The Freer and Sackler Galleries Exhibition “The Last Empresses of China: 1644-1912” (紫鸾金凤:清代宫廷皇后艺术与生活大展 2018-19年美国巡展)

Presents

Shanghai Kunqu Troupe 上海崑劇團

Sackler Pavilion, Freer and Sackler Galleries
Independence Ave at 12th St. SW, Washington, DC 20560
½ block from Smithsonian Metro Stop

Watch Live Performance on Smithsonian’s Facebook

Shanghai Kunqu 2019 Freer Sackler

Synopsis

I. The Butterfly Dream: Matchmaking 【蝴蝶梦:说亲】

“Matchmaking” is a short and humorous scene taken from a much longer and complex Ming drama chuanqi 传奇 called The Butterfly Dream, a traditional story which fictionalizes the life of Zhuangzi zhuang 莊子, an ancient Chinese philosopher (flourished, 350 and 300 B.C.E.).  As told by the traditional story, Zhuangzi traveled a lot, leaving his young wife at home. On the road, he once saw a widow fanning the wet earth covering a new grave, and learned that she wanted the earth to dry up and harden so that she could remarry—she had vowed to her deceased husband that she would not remarry until the earth in his grave dried up. This incident prompted Zhuangzi to contemplate on the institution of marriage and to want to test his own wife’s devotion to him. Thus, he returned home, and faked his own death, making his wife a widow.

“Matchmaking” begins Zhuangzi’s young wife, Madame Tian, lamenting her loneliness as a new widow. Her lament, however, quickly changes to her dreaming of marrying the young scholar who has come to visit Zhuangzi—the young scholar, needless to say, is the transformed Zhuangzi. Thus, the widow approaches the young scholar’s old servant (transformed from a large butterfly) and asks him to serve as a match maker.  Through the dialogues and interactions between the young widow and the old servant, the old servant agreed to be her match maker.  The scene delivers a comical drama that highlights human emotions, desires, while making fun of the Chinese institution of marriage.

The Jade Hairpin 2019 【玉簪记】

The Jade Hairpin 2019 【玉簪记】

Freer and Sackler Galleries Exhibition “The Last Empresses of China: 1644-1912” (紫鸾金凤:清代宫廷皇后艺术与生活大展 2018-19年美国巡展)

Shanghai Kunqu Troupe 上海崑劇團

Meyer Auditorium, Freer and Sackler Galleries
Independence Ave at 12th St. SW, Washington, DC 20560
½ block from Smithsonian Metro Stop

The Play

The Jade Hairpin 玉簪記 is a chuanqi 传奇 play by Gao Lian, written around 1570, some seventy years before the fall of the Ming dynasty. The play is divided into 33 scenes, but it would always have been common for scenes to be presented individually as selections rather than in sequence. The result is that certain scenes have very well-developed individual performance traditions. Chuanqi, sometimes translated as “marvel plays,” are the long scripts that in the Ming were the major drama genre.

Watch Live Performance on Smithsonian’s Facebook

Hou Zhe and Hu Weilu

Synopsis

The story is set in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279).  As children, a match was arranged between befriended families who lost contact as they fled from war. The girl, orphaned, has sought asylum in a Taoist abbey and became a novice there, adopting a religious name. Unbeknownst to her, the abbess is the boy’s aunt.

As the play begins, the boy, Pan Bizhen, arrives at his Aunt’s abbey, to study for the civil service examination, which he has already failed once. There he meets the abbey novice, Miaochang. Without realising that they were intended for one another by their parents, they fall in love almost at first sight.

One evening, Pan expresses his love by playing romantic music on the zither. Miaochang is moved but nevertheless rejects his suit, since she is a novice.  Pan, lovesick, receives a visit from Miaochang and his aunt to comfort him in his illness.  A few days later, Pan visits Miaochang in return. He discovers, by chance, her poem describing her hidden love toward him. Miaochang can no longer hide her love anymore and declares herself.

Learning this, the abbess flies into a rage. She forces Pan to leave for the capital city immediately to take the examination again. Pan and Miaochang are heart-broken. She engages a boatwoman to follow him down the river in order to bid him a fond farewell.

Finally, Pan succeeds in the examination and became a Mandarin. Now his father considers him of age to marry and reveals to him his childhood engagement. Pan realizes that

Inscription 2014 【療妒羹:题曲】

Inscription 2014 【療妒羹:题曲】

Inscription (Tiqu) 療妒羹:题曲

By Shen Yi-Li, a guest artist from Shanghai Kunju Troupe
Music Rearranged by Chen Tao
Music Concert featuring Melody of Dragon Chinese Musical Ensemble

April 26 – 27, 2014
Carlton College Concert Hall, Northfield, MN
Mairs Concert Hall, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN

冷雨幽窗不可聽
挑燈閒看《牡丹亭》
人間亦有癡於我
豈獨傷心是小青

Shen Yili

 

The Phoenix Sings 2013 【長生殿:小宴】【梧鳳之鳴】

The Phoenix Sings 2013 【長生殿:小宴】【梧鳳之鳴】

Experience classical and contemporary reflections on the Chinese legend of the phoenix. In a famous scene from the 17th-century kunqu play Palace of Everlasting Youth, an emperor and his consort portray masculine (dragon) and feminine (phoenix) qualities. In the new work “Dreaming of the Phoenix,” mountain spirits sing poetry lamenting the phoenix’s departure. All performances feature accompaniment on Chinese instruments.

Dreaming of the Phoenix 2013 【梧鳳之鳴】

Dreaming of the Phoenix 2013 【梧鳳之鳴】

The Phoenix Sings on the Plane Tree  梧鳳之鳴

By Qian Yi

Freer & Sackler Galleries, Washington D.C.
August 18, 2013

In a new music-theater work by Du Yun and Qian Yi, mountain spirits sing ancient poetry lamenting the loss of peace and prosperity since the departure of the phoenix. The vocalists are accompanied by an ensemble on Chinese flutes, nan-hu, zither, pipa, and percussion.

(Clockwise) Chen Tao, Huang Shirong, Qian Yi and Xing Wentao

 

Qian Yi

 

 

The Palace of Eternal Youth 2011 【長生殿】

The Palace of Eternal Youth 2011 【長生殿】

The Palace of Eternal Youth 【長生殿】 by the Shangai Kunju Troupe

Meyer Auditorium, Freer and Sackler Galleries, Washington, DC

June 18, 2011, 2:00 pm
Performs scenes from the Kunqu Classic: Palace of Eternal Youth

Scene 2: The Pledge of Love《Dinqing 定情》
Scene 19: Complaints in the Pavilion《Xuge 絮閣》
Scene 24: Startled by the Rebellion《Jingbian 驚變》
Scene 25: Jade Burial《Maiyu 埋玉》

 

 

 

The Pledge of Love 2011 【長生殿:定情】

The Pledge of Love 2011 【長生殿:定情】

The Palace of Eternal Youth: The Pledge of Love

Changshengdian, Act 2: Dinqing 長生殿:定情

Meyer Auditorium, Freer and Sackler Galleries, Washington, DC
June 18, 2011, 2:00 pm

May our love be as close and as enduring,
May the phoenixes never be parted,
May the box never be divided,
May our love be long-lasting!

惟愿取恩情似坚金
钗不单分盒永完
惟愿取恩情美滿
地久天長

Li An and Shen Yili