Product: Peking Opera The Glorious Zhen-Guan Period
Starring: Shang Changrong, Guan Dongtian
Performed by Shanghai Beijing Opera Theater
Published by Peninsula Audio-Visual Publishing House, 2004
Media: 1 DVD
Beijing Opera The Glorious Zhen Guan Years of Tang Dynasty performed by Shang Changrong and Guan Dongtian, Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe, is a popular and award winning play as Chinese enjoy economic growth and social stability.
Nine years into Li Shimin’s reign of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), Wei Zheng, a state counselor, goes on an inspection tour around the nation. Wei found that local officials were engaged in corruptive and extravagant practices, In the capital city of Chang’an, today’s Xi’an in Shaanxi Province, the empress’ brother, Zhangsun Wuji, “lost” as a game stake a beauty from the western territory to Li. Zhangsun himself was attempting to force Yuejuan, the daughter of Sui Dynasty (AD581-618 ) top official, Zheng Renji to marry him.
Wei Zheng, learning of the thing, took the opportunity of attending a party held by Zhangsun to recommend Zheng. At the party, Wei arranged for Yuejuan to tell the emperor all about Zhangsun’s scheme. As a result, Zhangsun’s attempt for a forced marriage was foiled.
During the court discussions the next morning. Wei, risking being plotted against, criticized the current malpractice of officials. Quoting "extravagancy sealed the former dynasty Sui's doom," Wei went further to advise Li to release the thousands of imperial maids kept at the court, in an effort to set an example for the officials to avoid extravagance. Emperor Li used to accept criticisms. At instigation by Zhangsun and other officials, Li became angry and took it out on Wei. However, Li was after all wise emperor. After the incident, Li investigated inside the imperial court and found numerous imperial maids, who had almost nothing to attend to but cleaning the rooms. Also, the empress’ good advice awakened Li to his mistake. Li, feeling that he had wronged Wei, went to the counselor’s residence without losing any minute. Wei at the time was also turning around in his bed, thinking of raising suggestions again to the emperor the next morning . The moment they met, all disagreements disappeared and Li asked Wei to draft an imperial edict ordering the release of the 3,000 court maids. The detained maids were finally able to unite with their families, which won Li praises from the nation. Li, an emperor committed to building his territory into a strong nation, adopted more than 200 pieces of suggestions on reform put forward by Wei Zheng. As a result, the nation entered a period called Zhenguan Reign known for economic boom and social stability.