"Song of Youth" at National Center for the Performing Arts
Peking University, June 12, 2010: From June 10 to 11, opera Song of Youth, a PKU production, staged at China's National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing, enthralling thousands of audience.
Li Changchun, a senior leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC), spoke highly of the theme and performance of the opera Song of Youth Friday. Li, Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said the opera, with its distinctive theme and profound meaning, could serve as vivid teaching materials for Chinese young people.
The opera Song of Youth, adapted from Yang Mo's novel of the same name, tells a story of how young students were led by the CPC and initiated patriotic movements on the eve of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945).
Produced by Peking University Academy of Opera and the China Opera and Dance Drama Theater, the play features five striking figures, Lin Daojing, Lu Jiachuan, Yu Yongze, Hu Meng’an, and Bai Liping, reflecting the combination of personal decisions of the heroine Lin Daojing and of other young characters, and the turbulent times, as well as the contradiction between their choices and the times. In addition, this opera focuses on the different "choices of youth" of young people, thus exploring the relationship among the youth, the country, and the society as a whole and offering answers through fierce contradictions of the characters.
Ms. Jin Man, Director of PKU Academy of Opera, is cast as the leading figure Lin Daojing.
Apart from the classic subject, the glamor of its music is also irresistible. Elements of Chinese culture and the life-praising connotations of belief are fully reflected in this opera. The full and stretching aria among the leading characters, the recitative with the features of psychological analysis, the symphony, the chorus and the ensemble are fully integrated in this opera, thereby displaying the contradictions in the opera and the story in which the heroine Lin Daojing is confronted with the choice "sacrificing the little selves, striving for the mass" and finally steps into the course of the revolution. Especially, the theme music "Song of Youth," which echoes through the whole performance, is also affectionate and charming.
Song of Youth had its premiere at PKU in May 2009 for commemorating the 90th anniversary of China's May Fourth Movement. It has been incorporated into PKU's freshmen orientation program since last year.
Officially inaugurated in April 2010, PKU Academy of Opera is the first institution for opera teaching and research in China, aiming at a high-level education in that field through a comprehensive discipline of opera theories, performing, composing, directing, stage design, and production management.
Song of Youth is an important part of the NCPA Opera Festival 2010 as a full-length original opera.
Because of obstacles in life, a young lady Lin Daojing intended to throw herself into the sea, but was saved by a student of Peking University, Yu Yongze, who had kept an eye on her for a long time. After the unsuccessful suicide, Lin Daojing still felt hopeless about the future, and declined Yu Yongze's love. Then, Lin Daojing made acquaintance with a Communist Lu Jiachuan in a party. Lu Jiachuan disseminated progressive books to others. The new ideas therein enlightened Lin Daojing. From then on Lin began to know revolutionary and patriotic thoughts.
The anti-Japanese petition of youth students in Beiping (now Beijing) was being suppressed by the authorities. Lu Jiachuan encountered dangers on the street before Lin Daojing brought him home. Seeing Lu and Lin together, Yu Yongze was so jealous that he accused Lu Jiachuan's "red propaganda" towards Lin Daojing, and forced Lu Jiachuan to leave. Therefore, the conflicts occurred among the three characters. Leaving Yu Yongze's home at once, Lu Jiachuan was soon arrested and executed. Facing the painful facts, Lin Daojing was just like waking from a dream. She decided to leave Yu Yongze who was vulgar, selfish, and indifferent, and finally threw herself resolutely into the anti-Japanese and country-saving fight. Therefore, being guided by the revolutionists and overcoming her weakness, she grew into a mature revolutionary and patriot.
Edited by: Jacques