An exhilarating comedy narrated through a
striking combination of vocal styles past and present
A contemporary operatic classic in the making
Liang Hongyu is a famous prostitute who establishes herself as a valiant warrior but refuses to accept any reward from the Emperor. Instead, she chooses to live in seclusion. The head of the brothel where she lives preserves Liang's beauty and youth by using 72 types of herbs in her bath, but the heroine is plagued by loneliness and boredom - until one night when she is visited by three spirits who come to cheer her up.
A comic atmosphere permeates this drama in which performers draw on different traditional and contemporary operatic styles – Sichuan, Kun, Peking, Huangmei, even Cultural Revolution model operas and popular music – together with direct quotations from The Peony Pavilion and Farewell My Concubine and an excerpt from The Water Margin.
Directed by China's premier avant-garde director Li Liuyi, with music by fellow Sichuanese artist Guo Wenjing, Liang Hongyu completes the Trilogy of War Heroines which began with Mu Guiying in 2003, followed by Hua Mulan in 2004. Not only is the music in Liang Hongyu a true melting pot of Chinese regional operas, but stage and set design transcend tradition, turning modernity on its head.
Liang Hongyu received its world première at the Holland Festival in June 2008 as part of the complete Trilogy of War Heroines. Dutch audiences responded to the slapstick action with raucous laughter – a testament to the power of art in crossing language barriers.