August 13, 2007

Li Yuan Opera - Li Ya Xian

11 August 2007 @ Esplanade Recital Studio, performed by Siong Leng Musical Association

Free seating, but the centre seats in the first 4 rows were reserved. That means more than 60 seats. So many guests? During the half-hour pre-show talk, I think only two of the reserved seats were occupied. So it looked rather odd - the speaker in front, people sitting at he back rows and in-between empty seats.

This is the stage. At one end a quaint make-up corner was set up. Just a few minutes before the show started two artistes in ancient costumes came out and sat there and pretended to do make-up. It looked very cute.

Pre-show Talk
During the talk, the speaker introduced Li Yuan Opera, briefly talked about the movement and singing and the 4 main characters – the scholar, the maiden, the elderly and the comic. Then he asked the sheng Lin Shao Ling to demonstrate some movements and facial expressions of the 4 characters. I thought why not ask a dan to come out too. Hong Ru Wang or Huang Yu Ying would be good.

Then there was a demonstration by the orchestra. The musicians, in dark uniform, looked so serious, like going to take the imperial exam. The drummer is a lady from Quan Zhou. Sometimes she had to use her foot to rub on the surface of the drum as she beat the drum.


At the end of the talk the speaker said only got time for 1 question. A man asked whether the performers were local or foreign. Mixed, the speaker said, 80% local and 20% foreign. I think he could have allowed a few more questions as there was a 15-min break after that.


The Show

The story. A scholar fell for a ‘qing lou’ beauty, Li Yaxian. He was so infatuated by her that he spent all his time at the ‘qing lou’. Soon his money was all gone and he also neglected his studies for the imperial exam. He became a beggar. Later he was reunited with the beauty. To make sure the scholar concentrate on his studies, she disfigured her face. Finally the scholar topped in the imperial exam and became the ‘zhuang yuan’.

The first two scenes – the Ball Game and the Beggars’ Song (Lian Hua Luo) – are unique and interesting. I think you can only see these in Li Yuan opera.

The handsome scholar was played by Lin Shao Ling, the delicate-looking beauty by Hong Ru Wang and the likeable Ah Gui, Li Yaxian's personal maid, by Huang Yu Ying. Wang Bi Yu was the money-faced ‘qing lou’ owner who only appeared in scene one. Bi Yu also acted as one of the beggars in two other scenes.

They all gave very good performance.


The singing in Li Yuan opera was not that slow as I thought. In this opera the lead sheng has a lot of singing to do. On the other hand, Ah Gui has no singing part. However, she has plenty of speaking and dialogues, including one with the photographer. Won’t it be nice to let us hear Ah Gui sing a song or two?

The opera is entertaining and watching it is a joy. You will enjoy it even if you don’t understand the dialect.



The orchestra, the drummer had her foot on the drum.


The scholar and the beauty


Performers, Siong Leng members and guests

9 comments:

Kongming said...

i wanna go watch 1 lor... then my pc kana virus... busy repairing it

fr said...

Hi, kongming, I guess you have watched this show before

Lam Chun See said...

Hi. Anyone can recommend a good shop to buy videos of old Canto operas plus old movies. Big sis' birthday coming up. Thanks.

fr said...

you can try Da You (Chinatown) at one end of Smith St (New Bridge Rd end), level 2

Blk 336, Smith Street, #02-300, New Bridge Centre

quite a lot of old b/w cantonese movies at $1 only

Lam Chun See said...

Thanks. Trouble is; so cheap how to give as birthday present. :(

Hate shopping for birthday presents.

Kongming said...

nope but pc more important :P

Miko said...

hey franxis~ din know u were there. Never inform me.. I knew AC was going tho. Hee hee.. You watched the afternoon show?? The VIP can't be bothered to come see the talk lor but at least they came for the show.

The speaker allowed only 1 question because the Esplanade manager told him to. serious. He said that audience always ask weird questions lor so dun let them ask too much. -_-"

Just to clarify.. I DIDNT pretend to do make up hor.. There was a smudge on my eyebrow so I removed it there. hahaha. But the other artiste, the kid, was pretending. She very obvious lor.

I didn't demo in the talk because.. I had already done my hair. The director thought that it will be better to be demonstrated by someone without the hair made up and without costume. If I were to do the hair after the talk, I wouldn't have enough time. Then they also want to keep ah sian's image mysterious mah, how can let audience see her before the show.. :P

Lastly, I am glad I don't have to sing. If not I will be super stress. We followed the traditional script and it didn't have any singing for ah gui from the beginning. I just concentrate on acting cute can le...

Last lastly, YOU ACTUALLY TOU TOU MO MO took photos ah! hahaha.. my god.. daring hor u.. AC din take a single pic. But good la.. at least I can see.. I take some put on my blog ok? I regretted not to take photos during the rehearsals sia.. :(

fr said...

No problem, you can use any pic.

I watched the night show.

Hahaha, not tou tou mo mo lah. I interpret the announcement means cannot take pic during the actual performance. Because it may distract the performers and a nuisance to others. So the rule is reasonable.

I took pics before and after the actual performance and I din use flash. I think I also quite reasonable.

A.C. said...

I didn't take, because I was sitting at the second row! Too obvious liao lor... hahaha...