10 masterpieces in traditional Peking Opera repertoire

By Li Wenrui | chinadaily.com.cn | 2017-11-09 09:26
10 masterpieces in traditional Peking Opera repertoire

Farewell My Concubine is staged in Beijing, Feb 7, 2015. [Photo/IC]

3. Farewell My Concubine

Based on real events from more than 2,000 years ago, the opera recounts a famous tragic love story set in the transitional period between the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220).

Xiang Yu, the king of Western Chu, is battling with rebel leader Liu Bang, founder of the Han Dynasty, for control of the empire. The night before their final battle, Xiang's troops are outnumbered and surrounded by Liu's army. King Xiang hears Liu's troops singing Western Chu songs, suggesting his homeland has already been subjugated.

Seeing the king is in deep despair, his concubine Yu performs a sword dance to show her devotion to him. Fearful of being a burden to the king during the ultimate battle, Yu commits suicide with the king's sword right after the dance.

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