Tong Tik-sang’s Unconventional Love Story ‘The Butterfly and the Red Pear Blossoms’ Returns to Stage
Why We Recommend it
The much-loved Cantonese opera, which was penned in the 1950s by legendary librettist Tong Tik-sang, returns to the stage with all its Chinese poetic expressiveness.
Where other romantic Chinese operas involving beauties and scholars are usually written according to the formula of the lovers’ first encounter, separation and reunion, The Butterfly and the Red Pear Blossom is different.
Tong goes against the tradition by setting the audience up for a tension-filled theatre experience as his protagonists, Zhao Ruzhou, a talented scholar, and Xie Suqiu, a ravishing courtesan, never get the chance to official meet each other for most of the performance.
The story traces the two falling in love at first sight upon seeing each other from afar. For years, they exchange letters and poetry, and show great admiration for each other’s literariness. Yet the vicissitudes of fate never enable them to actually meet. Known for her incomparable beauty, Xie is captured by the court prime minister and defector to be offered to the Jin invaders, leaving Zhao heartbroken. Will Zhao, a powerless nobody, be able to fight against the political bureaucrats alone? Will the lovers finally meet each other – for the first time – at the very end?
Please note that the Cantonese production will be supplemented by Chinese and English subtitles.