Kun Opera Peony Pavilion -The Young Lovers' Edition
Adapted by Bai Xianyong
Performed by the Suzhou Kun Opera Theatre
Language: Subtitles in Chinese / English
Published by Zhejiang Audio-Visual Publishing House, 2007
Media: 4 DVDs
Adapted from a classic script and produced by the renowned contemporary writer Kenneth Pai, the Young Lovers' Edition of the Kun opera Peony Pavilion has been performed more than one hundred times in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. the new Mudanting DVD was published in order to celebrate the 100th performance and preserve the opera longer. It is finally available here for Kung opera fans.
The critically acclaimed youth edition of the Kun opera Peony Pavilion is characterized with integrating the elegant art of kunqu and the 21st century taste. The publication of the youth edition Kun Opera Peony Pavilion will help to promote a wider renaissance and international appreciation of traditional Chinese performing arts.
The Peony Pavilion is a representative work by the outstanding Chinese dramatist Tang Xianzu of the 16th century. The work, through the romantic love story between Du Liniang and Liu Mengmei, reflects the persistent aspiration for free love and exposes the evil of the feudal ethics. Du Liniang has a dream in which she meets a young scholar and promises to marry him. When she wakes up, she yearns for her lover and falls ill; after a while she dies of lovesickness. The young scholar in her dream was Liu Mengmei, who later made his way to the capital to take the imperial examination. He meets Du Liniang's soul in Plum in Blossom Nunnery and agrees to help her return to life by reuniting her soul with her body. They are successful and live happily ever after.
With its complicated plot and magnificent structure, The Peony Pavilion in 55 scenes is particularly known for its excellent character portrayals. Its 160 odd characters provide a panoramic picture of social life in the Ming Dynasty. The work is renowned for its beautiful verses, in which "Travelling in the Garden," "The Dream Interrupted," and "Searching for the Dream" are regarded masterpieces of music and craft. It has much influence on the development of drama in China in later days. It said that the Peony Pavilion was first performed in 1598 at the Pavilion of Prince Teng. One of Tang's "Four Dreams", it has traditionally been performed as a Kunqu opera
Kun opera or Kunqu Opera is one of the oldest extant forms of Chinese opera evolved from the Kunshan melody, and dominated Chinese theatre from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Its main characteristics include subtle music, poetic language, elegant movement and romantic Libretti. The Peony Pavilion is the primary showcase of the guimendan role type. All Kun theatre troupes include it in their repertoire. All performance has focused on the love story between Du Liniang and Liu Mengmei.