Time, Date, and Venue
About the Performance
A collaboration between the Guo-Guang Opera Company and the Trend Education Foundation, Ode to the Relenting Storm tells the life story of Su Shi, also known as Su Dongpo, a great writer and poet in Chinese history. A combination of both Beijing and Kunqu opera, the piece is based on Su’s first and second Chibi Fu (or Ode to the Red Cliffs), two famous poems about the 3rd century naval battle of the Three Kingdoms era. The program starts with Su’s dialogues with a guest who plays dongxiao (a Chinese vertical end-blown flute) and a boatman. By taking the audience onto a half-dream, half-reality journey, the show retells life stories of Su Shi, including some major events at that time, such as the rivalry and bickering between political parties, the Crow Terrace Poetry Trial, Su’s political exile to Huangzhou, and his return to the cabinet, as well as his personal stories including the loss of his wife and son.
The show will include some of the most famous literary works of Su Shi such as Jiang Cheng Zi, Shui Diao Ge Tou (or Remembering Su Zhe on the Mid-Autumn Festival), Ling Jiang Xian, Bu Suan Zi, Nian Nu Jiao (or Remembering Chibi), and Ding Feng Po (or Ode to the Relenting Storm). The play, created by Director Li Yi-hsiu and playwright Liao Shu-chun, stars the accomplished Beijing and Kunqu opera artists Tang Wen-hua, Wen Yu-hang, and Chen Qing-he. The whole piece offers a glimpse into different aspects of the life of the great poet, including his charming personality, his views of life, and his ups and downs in officialdom and political exile.
Between governing and factional fighting, between being a court official and being demoted, between serving the people and serving oneself, between grief and serenity, Su Shi wrote with brush in hand. With one dot, one vertical stroke, one horizontal stroke…he carved out the traces of life, breaking through gains and losses, and left permanent marks in literature.
This opera takes Su Shi’s two “Odes to the Red Cliff” as its main focus, starting with Su’s conversation with Flute Player and Boatman which leads to the plot’s development. In between dreams and reality, it relates Su Shi’s struggle in the political arena of factional fights, the case of Wu-tai Poem, his removal to Huangzhou, and his return to the imperial court, during which time he lost his wife and son and is forced to drift along in an unstable life. He and Wang An-shi opposed each other in their views of state affairs. He and Wang Ding-guo comforted each other when they were both hurt. He and his concubine Zhao-yun (Morning Cloud) cherished and accompanied each other.
Traces in life eventually changed into blood and tears that flowed into the river and melted in the moonlight. It’s serenity, and a relief. Just like the lyrics in Su Shi’s “Odes to the Relenting Storm”: “Where I feel completely at ease is where my home is,” “I shall return, leaving the stormy rain and sunshine behind.”
The Performing Group│GuoGuang Opera Company
The GuoGuang Opera Company stands at the forefront of incorporating contemporary themes into Peking opera, modernizing this traditional art form and adding literary elements into new creations. The company has presented works inspired by fiction from 20th century female writer Eileen Chang, as well as Chinese calligraphy copybooks by fourth century Chinese calligrapher Wang Xizhi, underlining the troupe’s creative freedom in terms of themes and means of expression. In addition to its representative works of traditional Kunqu and Peking opera plays, its adaptations have also received plaudits in cultural circles, earning it both a Golden Bell Award and Taishin Arts Award, and are extremely popular among younger audiences. They have also been invited to put on shows across the Taiwan Strait as well as in many different countries around the world.
Organizer: National Center for Traditional Arts
Advisor: Ministry of Culture
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* The organizers reserve the right to make changes to the event program.