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Modern Beijing Opera The Red Lantern VCD

  • Legend of Red Lantern VCD
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Product Description

Modern Revolutionary Model Play: The Red Lantern
Performed by Liu Changyu and Gao Yuqian in 1970
VCD published by China Sanhuang Audio-Visual Ltd
ISRC CN-A60-97-010-00.

When Li Yuhe (Qian Haoliang as Li Yuhe, a rail road worker who engages in underground work) has been taken away by special agents and Grandma Li (Gao Yuqian as Grandma Li) has a premonition of being arrested inevitably, Grandma has decided to tell Tiemei (Liu Changyu as Li Tiemei) the true story about their family; she expects the girl to be as strong-willed as her father is. Grandma Li tells Tiemei how the girl's own parents have sacrificed their lives in the revolutionary struggle. Li Yuhe has taken up the unfulfilled task of the martyrs. After hearing the heroic story about her family. Li Tiemei is determined to follow the example of her dad and carry the revolution through to the end.

8 Model Plays

The so-called eight model plays were officially formed during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). They were the only plays performed at that time. Materials were from the communist activities or related subjects. Actually the then staged modern plays were not just limited to eight. They are the "The Legend of Red Lantern", "Sha Jia Bang", "The Harbor", "Takeover of Wei-Hu Mountain", "Hymn of Dragon River", "Battle on the Plain", "The Du-Juan Mountain", "Sweeping the White Tiger Regiment", "Pan-Shi-Wan" and "Red Woman Detachment". The model plays were then " translated" into other local operas. Usually that means adopting the play scripts as they were and changing the music accordingly.

Modern plays can be understood as a trial of reform to this grand old art. Traditional plays feature the stories of ancient or pre-modern Chinese history. There are certain forms for the costumes, the character face paintings, stage properties, musical melodies and stage actions. But most of these are not applicable to the modern plays. For example, modern weapons, such as pistols and rifles, are used on the stage in stead of pears and swords. Therefore new perforating forms were developed. The most famous change in the modern plays is the use of a huge orchestra including violins, piano etc instead of the usually small musical group, producing the most beautiful sounding effect. Stage setting was also enriched. Painted or light projected scenes were adopted. Costumes were different from the traditional plays. There were hardly any makeup applied. Therefore there was no face painted in the plays although some of the roles were still classified as painted faces.

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