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A night at the opera

I continue to want to grasp the full Chinese cultural experience, so tonight Aiyun and I are going to a traditional Chinese opera. I won't be able to understand the language, but I've read about it and hope to be able to follow the story being told. It looks like elaborate costumes and some interesting music. At worst I'll enjoy those aspects.

The Peking opera presents "The Phoenix Returns to the Nest". We're headed up to Shanghai tonight and the theater is only a few blocks from our hotel. Tickets were about $25USD each. No idea if that's expensive or not. Sounds like a bargain to me.

It's a representative work from the “Mei School” of Peking Opera (Mei stands for Mei Langfang), The Phoenix Returns to its Nest tells a comic love story set in the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and is synonymous with celebrating the Lunar New Year. It was first performed by Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang in 1929 and is now one of the most popular Peking Operas. It tells the humorous story of a senior court minister who retires and returns to his hometown with his two daughters. The elder daughter, Xueyan, is a plain and ordinary woman, while the younger one is beautiful and elegant. The opera is a tale of love, manipulation and mistaken identity. Here are some stage photos I found online.

The soundtrack and other songs are available on YouTube and Spotify. It should last about an hour and a half.

We will be there for two nights and our hotel is only one kilometer from the Bund waterfront, so we will likely spend some time near the river and maybe hit YuYuan Garden at night as it's likely lit up for the new year celebration.

The next morning...

I've now officially been to a Chinese traditional opera. Glad I went and had the experience, but I wouldn't go again. I was able to follow the story easily, but when the entire crowd erupted in laughter it was disappointing that I never got the punchlines. The story was a retiring public official returning to his hometown. He had two daughters. Oldest was a from his first wife and a bit on the ugly side. Youngest was the hot one from the secondary consort. The older daughter was played by an older heavier man. Comedy at its finest. Trying to get the daughters married was the plot line. If felt like a Shakespearean comedy of sorts.

The costumes were cool. The face paint and headdress were cool. The music was cool. The singing? Super high voice is is the name of the game. We were treated to having a celebrity of sorts play the lead young girl in the story. After the curtain calls and bows she came back out to hit the crowd with one more quick song. Aiyun recorded it so you get to have a listen if you choose.

Not all the singing was quite that high pitched and nasal, but I think you get the idea.

Mom update: we've been officially denied by Lynden Manor until mom is on Medicaid. However, we have a line on another place in the same area. It's an adult family home that only has six to eight seniors living there at any given time. The woman that runs this home will meet with mom on Thursday this week to assess if this is a good fit. Mom has been continuing to enter other residents rooms randomly at night. Not good. However, she hasn't been attempting to leave the facility, so that's a positive. As has been the case, I will update on how things are going.

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