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Peking Opera Notre Dame Performed at SJTU

April 19, 2012      Author: Zhao Jiawei

At April 18 night, as an event of Shanghai Jiao Tong University International Collegiate Culture and Arts Festival, Peking Opera Notre Dame adapted from Victor Hugo's famous Notre Dame de Paris was performed in Jingjing Auditorium on Minhang Campus. Applying the artistic techniques of traditional Chinese Peking opera, the artists from Shanghai Jingju Troupe offered a spectacular audio-visual feast to SJTU faculty and students.

The localized storyline and the authentic Peking opera melody mingled with western music and dance elements, the vicissitudes of life in the medieval times written by Hugo was drastically adapted into a romance happened in a Chinese small town of Ming Dynasty.

A minority girl named Ai Ya with pretty appearance was a street performer. She was good at singing and dancing, but also quite alien to the stringent and old-fashioned patriarchal society. Longing for the ideal love, she felt in love with the general of guard army Tian Hao who was actually a dissolute playboy. The head of Notre Dame lusted for her beauty and stabbed Tian Hao badly while innocent Ai Ya was charged with crime. In this time of danger, an ugly but nice bell-knocker Chou Nu turned up, took her away and hid her at Notre Dame. The Head hinted Tian Hao with his troop to catch Ai Ya but she was shot to death right in the chaos. Chou Nu got so grieved that he killed the Head and committed suicide finally.

Even though the difference of a novel and a Peking opera is quite significant in terms of the art form and cultural background, the distinctive personalities of the characters and the ups and downs of the plot have been perfectly illuminated.

At the curtain call, the consummate performance won a standing ovation. "Both the stage set and the performing are so wonderful. The foreign masterpiece can be shown in such an authentic form of Chinese opera, which makes me realize that the cross-cultural Peking opera can be so meaningful and thought-provoking." An undergraduate exclaimed.

Translated by Tian Cong