Butterfly Lovers connects two nations

By Wei Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2011-12-29 20:55:01


This weekend, two troupes, one from North Korea and one from China, will give two opera performances of the same traditional Chinese story, Butterfly Lovers, to Beijing audiences. The events are also meant to be a cultural exchange between the two neighboring countries.

The North Korean version is the latest project of the country's best opera troupe, Phibada Opera Troupe. After almost a year of planning and revisions, the Chinese story will be told over the course of six scenes. They depict the tale's classic events like Zhu Yingtai, the heroine, disguising herself as a man and going to school, Zhu and Liang Shanbo, the hero, becoming sworn brothers at Caoqiao Bridge, and the two lead characters studying at Wansong College.

While remaining true to the original Chinese story, the troupe has woven North Korean elements into their performance, such as traditional dance.

Phibada Opera Troupe, having received guidance from Kim Jong-il, former leader of North Korea, began its Chinese tour in October. However, when the news of Kim's death was released from Pyongyang, the troupe suspended performances and planned to go back to North Korea on December 19. It was not until December 24 that the troupe decided to continue its tour in China, fulfilling Kim's wish for a successful cultural exchange.

The Chinese production will be done in the traditional Yue Opera style, starring Mao Weitao, a top Chinese actress. In the Chinese performance, the old story will be enhanced by modern dance elements and more emphasis on portraying the characters' emotional processes. One especially creative scene will have the actors and actresses using Chinese fans to represent the dancing of butterflies. The performance aims to tell the story in a traditional yet fashionable way.

The Chinese Yue Opera will be performed tonight at the Changan Theater, and the cast and crew of the North Korean Phibada Opera Troupe will attend the performance. On January 1, members of the Chinese production will join the audience of the North Korean performance at the National Centre for the Performing

Arts (NCPA). The following day, the two troupes will hold a culture exchange meeting at the NCPA, discussing the similarities and differences between North

Korean culture and Chinese culture.

Global Times

Posted in: Diversions

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