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Hangzhou Yuletang Kunqu Opera Show - Peony Pavilion


Yuletang Kunqu Show (PEONY PAVILION)
(Free for deliverying the tickets)

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Avenue: Third Floor Indoor Theater, Yuletang
Time: 19:30-21:00 (On Friday and Saturday Evenings)
Address: No. 62, Zhongshan Zhonglu, Hangzhou 310003, China

Transportation: Take a taxi to the Hefang Ancient Street or Southern Song Imperial Thoroughfare


The Show Ticket Pricing

Ticket Categories Our Discount Price
A Type 1280 RMB
B Type 1080 RMB
C Type 880 RMB
D Type 680 RMB
E Type 580 RMB

The Map of Hangzhou Yuletang Theater


Yuletang (御乐堂) Hangzhou, is a newly-opened place for eating, tea drinking and enjoying Kunqu Opera. It has a quite literate name “Xi Cha Shi Yi”(戏茶食驿) . Yuletang is located on Southern Song Imperial Thoroughfare, Hefang Old Street Historical Block. Its address is No. 62, Zhongshan Zhonglu.

A Tasteful, Classical, Traditional and Scholarly Atmosphere

The opposite side of Yuletang is a time-honored traditional medicine store named Yezhongdetang. The road between them is the famous Southern Song Imperial Thoroughfare. Yuletang is a comprehensive place for eating, drinking and watching. The first floor and the second floor are served as the dining rooms. The facilities and decorations are quite exquisite, and elaborately designed by the boss himself, who is said to be a well-educated businessman from Taiwan. The food offered here is quite interesting, especially the menu, which is designed with a traditional logics of elites. For instance, the Scholarly Tea is so elegant and full of a taste of bureaucratic-scholar culture. It is preferred by many local people, and the highly-educated people graduated from prestigious universities of Hangzhou and nearby cities like Zhejiang University, Hangzhou University, Fudan University, Nanjing University, East China Normal University and so on. On the second floor, at the center area, there is a projector showing a traditional painting portraying an ideal place that traditional elites adored, with a classical music of ancient times. The local servants said that many people always come here for several times per week.

The site of Yuletang is the tea store of Weng Long Sheng(翁隆盛), which used to be crowned as No.1 Tea Store on the earth by Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty. but there are only 66 seats in total.

Kunqu Opera Performance

The third floor is served as the small archaized courtyard-like theater to enjoy the elite’s Kunqu Opera show named Peony Pavilion(牡丹亭), a different type different from an epic style directed by Bai Xianyong, a Taiwanese and son of Bai Chongxi. It is regularly available at the weekend.

This an alleged show promoted as an experience-style Peony Pavilion. The general consultant Lin Gufang, a famous cultural scholar in Taiwan, said:”why are we annoyed? I suppose that our culture does not enter our life, and we separate the theater from our life, and then Yuletang puts the Kunqu Opera into its operation. I am happy about that. The daily life of eating and drinking is integrated with operas.”

They select Peony Pavilion, because they think Peony Pavilion is the most classic and popular one, though there are lots of famous teams creating several types of shows such as The Youth-Type Peony Pavilion directed by Bai Xianyong, Show at Beijing Huangjia Liangcang directed by Lin Zhaohua, Wang Shiyu and Yu Qiuyu, and the Courtyard Live-Action Type at Zhujiajiao, Shanghai directed by Zhang Jun and Tan Dun.

The type of Yuletang is also co-designed by a group of professionals such as Lin Gufang, Lai Shengchuan, Wang Shiyu and Bai Yansheng, and its director in general is Lin Weilin, the head of Zhejiang Kunqu Troupe. The hero and heroine are Zeng Jie and Hu Ping, both of who are the top performers in the circle of Kunqu Opera.

About the Story of Peony Pavilion (Mu Dan Ting)

This is a playbook written by Tang Xianzu in Jiangxi province. Who was Tang Xianzu? Let us give an introduction – Tang Xianzu(1550-1616) was praised to be the Oriental Shakespeare. His works were summarized as Four Dreams of Linchuan, which is the hometown of his. Among four dreams, Peony Pavilion is the most popular one. Tang Xianzu was quite poor in his life, and it is similar to many other famous souls such as Wu Jingzi(the writer of Rulin Waishi), Cao Xueqin(the writer of The Dreams in the Red Mansion). But his works are full of romanticism, idealism and mysticism. Many modern critics think of it as the evidences against the alleged bad reality. It is ridiculous! An ideological doctrinism misleads China many years and badly influences the criticism of people to literature and art. There is just a release of humanism, not a struggle against so-called classes. Its greatness and classics are not their use to be a tool of some people to abuse others, but the eternality with the core of humanity.

The Peony Pavilion is also translated as The Return of the Soul. Written in a beautifully poetic style, the drama revolves around the love story of Liu Mengmei (刘梦梅, Willow Dreaming Plum), a young scholar, and Du Liniang(杜丽娘), the daughter of a high official in Nan’an in southern China. In a visit to the family garden at the back of the official residence, Liniang falls asleep and is approached in a dream by Mengmei, with whom she then has a romantic affair in the Peony Pavilion. Awakening from her dream, she becomes lovesick and inconsolable in her longing for Mengmei. She eventually pines away with a broken heart in the seclusion of her maidenly chamber in spite of the efforts to save her by a female Daoist spiritual medium and her pharmacologist, Teacher Chen. Before she dies, she paints a self-portrait which is interred under a stone in the garden alongside her remains beside a plum tree.

After her death, Mengmei comes into the foreground of the play. We see him on his way to the imperial examination in Hangzhou. But he falls ill at Nan’an and is given a resting-place in the Du family garden. Walking in the garden, he happens to discover Liniang’s portrait and he spends many hours of longing and fond gazing at her lovely form. Immediately he develops a deep feeling that he knows the woman in the portrait from a dream in his past. One night, Liniang as a ghost appears to him and yet they are able to renew the passionate relationship they enjoyed in their shared dream in the past. At her request, Mengmei opens Liniang’s coffin and she is revived because she has found her love. The two young lovers marry in a hurry. Then, worried by the news of a war that had spread to her father's new governing district, Liniang sends her husband to look for her parents, taking her portrait as an authentication of who he is. However, instead of being honored as his son-in-law, Governor Du has Mengmei arrested and accuses him of robbing Liniang’s grave. Later, even when Liniang herself appears in front of her father, he persists in refusing to believe in her resurrection. Finally, only with the help of the emperor’s testimony and royal decree does he acknowledge her identity and the two lovers’ marriage is sanctioned.


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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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