The performers demonstrate their skills through stunning stage combat, and the appeal of traditional Peking opera is unleashed via the antique librettos. With a vast experience in both film and theatrical production, director Hu Xuehua is well acquainted with the psychology of contemporary audiences. The scene changes are smooth, and the tone and pace of voice are changed between breaths. The audience cannot help cheering at the breath-taking moments, indulging in the long lyrical passages. Captivating modern dance acts have been integrated into the story, proving to be not at all redundant in terms of structure and style but have instead enriched and elevated the aesthetic appeal of the stage performance.
The characters are also portrayed in a new and impressive way. Jin Xiangyu played by Shi Yihong is charming in a style different from Maggie Cheung’s interpretation. In contrast to the coquettish character played by Maggie Cheung, Shi’s interpretation portrays a distinctive inner strength. As the quote goes, “there are good people even among rogues”, Shi on the stage is enchantingly skilful in both singing and martial roles, embodying the perfect combination of the elegance of the Mei School, light-heartedness of the Xun School, the sentimentality of the Cheng School and the vigour of the Shang School. While being vulgar and witty, the heroine also shows her virtuous and heroic side. Despite appearing to be romantic and enchanting, she is revealed as a lovable and respectable person as the story unfolds.
By Wang Yang
Associate professor at the School of Journalism & Communication of Shanghai University, Vice Chairman of the Shenzhen Literary and Art Critics Association, Vice Chairman of the Shenzhen Art and Science Association, documentary director, playwright and film critic.
This article is excerpted and translated from Chinese