“Xiang, at nine, / Warmed bedding fine. / Follow this one, / This filial son.” This line from the Three Character Primer tells about “Huang Xiang Warmed Bedding”, a story of filial piety.
In recent years, Yunmeng County has had in-depth excavation and promotion of the culture of “Huang Xiang’s Filial Piety”. Moreover, Yunmeng Chu Opera Troupe even spared no effort to refine a large-scale Chu opera Huang Xiang in 12 years. On the evening of September 26, the newly made historical play Huang Xiang was performed in Xiaogan People’s Square, and the excellent performance was well received by the audience.
Yunmeng Chu Opera Troupe began creating Huang Xiang in 2006. At that time, the name of the opera is Yunmeng Huang Xiang. According to the Three Character Primer, it tells the story of Huang Xiang’s filial piety from 9 to 15 years old.
In 2015, in order to greet the fifth Huang Xiang Cultural Festival in the county, Yunmeng Chu Opera Troupe decided to create Filial and Incorrupt Huang Xiang of Han, telling the story of Huang Xiang being honest and upright during his serving as the chief of the Wei prefecture. The following year, the opera was fortunate enough to be an opera funded in 2016 by National Endowment for the Arts, which has since started its path of refinement.
“We hired a famous national screenwriter and decided to create a brand-new Huang Xiang.” Wang Hanqing, head of Yunmeng Chu Opera Troupe, told the reporter. This piece of Chu opera tells the whole life of Huang Xiang from his filial piety at 9 to being an official, settling a lawsuit in Qinghe, disaster relief in Wei prefecture, dismissing from office and returning home.
In August last year, the opera passed the review and acceptance. Later, it was performed more than 40 times in Yunmeng county’s “Cultural activities benefiting the people, opera going to the countryside”, “Opera goes into campus” and the provincial local opera art festivals, making it earn a good reputation.
However, in Wang Hanqing’s view, this is not enough. They can also further carry forward the culture of Huang Xiang’s filial piety.
At the beginning of this year, the Troupe hired a famous national director to refine the opera, showing Huang Xiang’s unique life from performing the filial duty to benefiting the people. It interprets the “Huang Xiang’s Filial Piety” from the three levels of “small filial piety to parents, medium filial piety to life, and great filial piety to people”. The script, the stage design and the music have all been revised, and the performance level of the actors has also been improved.
Wang Hanqing said that the revised “Huang Xiang” included more than 80 people engaged in the whole opera. It brought together the young, middle-aged, and old talents in the Troupe. One could say it was supported by the whole troupe. This was the first time it was performed in public. In the opera, Wang Hanqing and the young actor You Mingwen play the elderly Huang Xiang and the middle-aged Huang Xiang respectively.
On that day, despite the sudden drop in temperature, there were still many viewers. When asked about their feelings, the audience said, “It’s very touching to your heart.”