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FULL A Night at the Chinese Opera (Weir) Bath 1988 Richardson Ellis Chance

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Video Recording from: ok     FULL VIDEO
Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: BBC  
  • Date Published: 1988  
  • Format: Broadcast
  • Quality Video: 2 Audio:2
  • Subtitles: nosubs  
  • Video Recording from: ok     FULL VIDEO
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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS PERFORMANCE

This was Weir’s first full-scale opera, written on commission from the BBC for performance by Kent Opera.
Weir incorporated an early Chinese play of the Yuan dynasty, The Orphan of Zhao, as the centrepiece of Act 2 of her opera.

Chao Sun is an explorer and mapmaker who is exiled from the city of Loyan. His son Chao Lin becomes the supervisor of the building of a canal. His workers include a group of actors.

One evening, the actors/workers perform the old Chinese opera The Chao Family Orphan. The older drama tells of the evil General Tuan-Ku, who causes his servant Chao and his wife to commit suicide by forging a seemingly official letter from the Emperor instructing Chao to take his own life. Their young son is left behind as an orphan. Unwittingly, the General later adopts and raises the child as his own son. Twenty years later, there is a conspiracy to overthrow the emperor. The orphan gradually learns his true birth identity and the fate of his parents, and joins the plot for revenge. An earthquake, however, interrupts the conspiracy and the actors are arrested.

Chao Lin’s work on the canal is praised. At one point, when he is surveying the canal, Chao meets an old woman who tells him of what happened to his father. In parallel to the Chao Family Orphan story, Chao Lin plans vengeance on his father’s enemies. However, Chao Lin is captured and executed for his conspiracy. The actors who were performing The Chao Family Orphan then return to complete the play, where the son does succeed in avenging his father against General Tuan-Ku.

 

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