Cuiping Hill---A Stunning New Production in Shanghai Theatre Academy (STA)


Dec 23rd 2013
Written by PAN Naiqi
Edited by Rong Shu

On December 17th, 2013, a stunning new production of Cuiping Hill, a classic play in Peking Opera, was staged at the Academy Theater of STA. Despite the drizzle, the passion of the lovers of Peking Opera and Kunqu Opera was not dampened. On the contrary, no seat was left vacant that night and the performance was set with rounds of applause and laughter from the satisfied audience.

In 2013, TAN Xinpei Institute, established by STA to cultivate specialist in traditional Chinese opera, has taken as one of its priorities the retrieval and adaptation of a lost play, Cuiping Hill. What is foresighted is STA’s decision years ago to retrieve and adapt the lost play. After a two-month rehearsal, the play was presented, featuring WANG Lijun (disciple of TAN School, Vice President of the College of Chinese Opera in STA and renowned Peking Opera performer) and MU Yuandi (teacher of excellence from Shanghai Opera School affiliated to STA) as principal performers. CAO Jianwen, XIAO Runnian and JIN Xihua, famous performers, were invited to the joint performance. The excellent techniques of Peking Opera they demonstrated through their performance, along with such modern element as occasional interaction, deeply impressed the audience.

Writing Complaint, a selected scene from The Story of Horse Selling, a classic Kunqu Opera, was presented as a bonus performance, granting the audience great pleasure. The play is about LI Guizhi, the daughter of LI Qi, a horse dealer who was set up and imprisoned. Knowing his father was framed, she told the grievance of his father to her husband ZHAO Chong, who had just came home, begging him to appeal for her father with tears. ZHAO Qun and WANG Kaifen, two young teachers from the affiliated school, played Guizhi and her husband respectively. Though they mainly teach and perform Peking Opera, their performance of Kunqu Opera this time was fastidiously prepared and thereby impressive. The sweet voice from Guizhi seems to be lingering in our minds.

The stunning production of Cuiping Hill and Writing Complaint nourished the audience with the unique artistic charm of Chinese opera, freeing them from the hustle and bustle. Its significance deserves attention.