An operatic remake of "The Butterfly Lovers (梁山伯與祝英台),” a fated romance no less enthralling than that of Romeo and Juliet, will be staged by Taiwan's GuoGuang Opera Company on Nov. 13 and 14 in Beijing.
"The Butterfly Lovers,” the most-recognizableromance title of classic Chinese literature, delineates the doomed relationship between Liang Shanbo (梁山伯), a talented scholar of a rather delicate disposition, and Zhu Yingtai (祝英台), ahigh-spirited lady who is disguised as a man to complete her academic studies away from home.
Although earliest accounts of the tale can be tracked back to the imperial Tang Dynasty, the story was never adapted for Kun opera (崑曲) until 2004. The combination of song, dialogue, poetry, and music that characterize Kun opera, the forerunner of all Chinese opera, compliments the emotional play nicely.
The Kun version of "The Butterfly Lovers” was scripted by Tseng Yung-yi (曾永義), Taiwan's first academician of Academia Sinica in the field of Chinese theater arts. Notable deviances include a more assertive Zhu who entertained the thought of elopement, and a "what if” dream sequence before the bitter ending.
The lead roles will be taken by Wen Yu-hang (溫宇航), one of the brightest GuoGuang actors, and Wei Chun-rong (魏春榮), a starlet from the Shanghai Kun Opera Company.
‘The Butterfly Lovers'