The Pearl Shirt
Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing The Pearl Shirt, Guangtai Village, The Unicorn Purse and The Carmine Costume
Dates: February 17-20, 2018
The Pearl Shirt (February 17th)
The emperor of the Song Dynasty ZHAO Guangyi hunts with princess CHAI Meichun in the borderland, where they are captured by a military officer of the Liao Dynasty. YANG Yanzhao passes by Tongtai and saves the emperor and princess. Minister FU Long’s son FU Dingkui comes as well, and the emperor of the Song Dynasty thinks it is FU that saves them, so he betroths the princess to him. Nevertheless, the princess admires YANG for his handsome looks and presents a pearl shirt to him. After many setbacks, the misunderstanding is explained with the aid of the emperor’s brother and the newly-elected number one scholar LÜ Jia, who helps to distinguish between what is true and false. YANG Yanzhao and the princess finally get married to live happily ever after.
WANG Rongrong, DU Peng, LIU Mingzhe, ZHANG Peng, DU Zhe, HUANG Juming, JI Liexiang
Guangtai Village (February 18th)
Starting an uprising in Haozhou, ZHU Yuanzhang wants to appoint a commander-in-chief. LIU Ji recommends him - XU Da, who lives in Guangtai Village outside the city of Haozhou. ZHU goes to hire XU with GUO Ying. XU refuses to accept the appointment on a pretext that he is taking care of his elderly mother. LIU commands GUO and his cohorts. to dress up as bandits to deceive XU into leaving the village, then hijack his mother, wife and children, and seize the opportunity to set fire on the village. XU’s mother is taken to the gate tower in a cangue, and advises XUto surrender. Hence, XU cannot help but surrender to ZHU.
ZHU Qiang, HUANG Yanzhong, KANG Jing, ZHOU Enxu, NI Shengchun, ZHANG Jin
The Unicorn Purse (February 19th)
In Dengzhou, the matriarch of a family surnamed XUE marries her daughter Xiangling to ZHOU Tingxun. As a rule, she gives the girl a unicorn purse. Soon later the maiden is carried away. The girl encounters a bout of rain halfway and takes shelter at a pavilion, where she meets a poor bride named ZHAO Shouzhen. When ZHAO sees Xiangling in flamboyant dress, she weeps for herself and Xiangling gives her that valuable purse. Later the rain stops, and they get separated. Six years later, a deluge erupts and all locals flee for their lives. Unfortunately, Xiangling loses her way and wanders to Laizhou, where she meets Granny HU, a matron of the Family Zhou. The granny takes her to a relief shed erected by LU Shengchou who is finding a matron for his son Tianlin. Xiangling then accepts the job readily. One day, when she accompanies that boy playing in his garden, the little rogue throws his ball onto a pavilion and urges her to take it back. As soon as she arrives, Xiangling sees the enshrined purse and knows Madame LU is that girl she met years ago. For this reason, the lady treats her very well and makes her reunited with her family.
The Rouge Pleat (February 20th)
Young scholar BAI Jian goes to the capital to take an examination by the way of Erlong Mountain, where a chivalrous robber GONGSUN Bo gives BAI Jian a rouge pleat and asks him to deliver it to his elder male cousin in the Jade Dragon Tavern in the capital. It is the Lantern Festival, and festive lanterns can be seen everywhere. Emperor Yongle (ZHU Di), who sees the five stars form a straight line in a dream, travels incognito in plain clothes and walks into the Jade Dragon Tavern. The emperor hears BAI reading and admires him at heart, so he calls him out for a talk. BAI demonstrates his talents and offers the rouge pleat to ZHU and the latter asks where he had received it. BAI tells ZHU the truth and recommends GONGSUN Bo to him. ZHU takes away the pleat to test BAI’s generosity and BAI returns it to him generously. After returning to the palace, ZHU declares BAI the number one scholar as a treasure presenter, orders official promotion of GONGSUN, and promotes BAI to become governor of a province. BAI moves to Henan by imperial order. He leaves the boat to make an inspection trip incognito in plain clothes. Accidentally, he loses his official seal, which is found by QIU Aichuan, who takes it for an eyepiece and offers it to the county magistrate JIN Xiangrui. JIN, who is fond of liquor and always asks the yamen runner leader BAI Huai for opinions on everything, tells BAI Huai what he has got and asks him to get some information about it. BAI Huai goes to the boat, where he is captured and meets his lost son BAI Jian. The father and son reunite and BAI Huai blames BAI Jian for losing the seal. Then they hatch a scheme in which BAI Huai is set on fire behind the government office when JIN Xiangrui meets BAI Jian in the government office, while BAI Jian entrusts the empty seal box to JIN for safekeeping and then pretends to go away to fight the fire. JIN looks astounded at the empty box and asks BAI Huai for help. BAI tells him to put the seal in the empty box, and BAI Jian regains the seal. Later, BAI Jian waits on and supports his father BAI Huai.
DU Zhenjie, LIU Mingzhe, HUANG Baixue, HAN Juming, SONG Haoyu
Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing
Established in 1979, Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing is the largest professional performing arts ensembles of Peking Opera in China. The theatre not only plays a key role in China's traditional opera circle but also enjoys a high overseas reputation. In the process of establishment and development of its arts brand, numerous performing artists made a great contribution, such as the "Four Major Masters of Female Characters" of MEI Lanfang, SHANG Xiaoyun, CHENG Yanqiu, XUN Huisheng, as well as masters of other schools including MA Lianliang, TAN Fuying, ZHANG Junqiu, QIU Shengrong, ZHAO Yanxia, etc. They have left valuable wealth to the theatre.
Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing is also a home of contemporary elites. The gold prize winners of China Drama Plum Blossom Award, MEI Lanfang Award, and the National Peking Opera Competition have formed a major force of the theatre. Outstanding contemporary works of Chancellor LIU Luoguo (an opera of serialized performance), Symphonic Peking Opera MEI Lanfang, The Ode of the River Goddess and YUAN Chonghuan (newly-adapted historical operas) as well as studio-theatre Peking Operas of Splashing Water before the Horse, YAN Xijiao and other excellent pieces have won awards in successive years in a variety of state-level competitions. These achievements represent the constant efforts made by the Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing to reinvigorate Peking Opera and reach a new peak of the performing art of Peking opera.
In addition, the theatre is active in both the domestic and foreign stages. Till now they have left their footprints over all five continents and more than 50 countries and regions.
Source: National Centre for the Performing Arts