Repertoires of Yuju Empress: Chang Xiangyu
Hua Mulan is one of Chang Xiangyu's most beloved operas. Hua Mulan's theme song, where Chang says, "Who says women are not as capable as men?" has been loved and learned by millions of Chinese. Her interpretation of the role is especially notable for Chang's sonorous aria and dignified stage presence. The play tells the story of a legendary heroine from about 1,500 years ago, which was made into a film in 1956 and an animated Disney feature, Mulan, in the United States in 1998.
The Broken Bridge
Bai Suzhen and Xiao Qing leave their home in Mount Emei for the West Lake in Hangzhou where they encounter Xu Xian, who Bai finds is an honest and lovely person. With the help of matchmaker Xiao, Xu and Bai get married. But the Buddhist Monk Fahai of Jinshan Temple hears the news and vows to put an end to the marriage. He forces Xu to get Bai drunk, which reveals her original snake form and nearly scares Xu to death. When she wakes up, Bai is overwhelmed by sadness and sets out to steal the magic herb that can cure Xu, risking her own life. But Fahai has yet another plan to separate the couple: He persuades Xu to be a monk in his temple. When Bai and Xiao Qing come to the Jinshan Temple to fight Fahai, Xu is remorseful about what he had done and meets Bai Suzhen and Xiao Qing on the broken bridge.
Romance of the Western Chamber
The story begins with the late prime minister's widow, Madam Cui, and her children stopping at Pujiu Temple in Puzhou (today's Yongji County, Shanxi Province) on their way to the capital, Chang'an. A young intellectual, Zhang Junrui, from Luoyang is also on his way to Chang'an to take the imperial examination. When Zhang and Madam Cui's daughter, Yingying, meet in the temple hall, the two fall in love. Witnessing this, Yingying's maid Hongniang commits herself to helping the lovers.
But when a rebel leader besieges Pujiu Temple with the intention of capturing the maiden, Madam Cui promises her daughter's hand in marriage to anyone who takes on the perpetrators. Zhang immediately writes a letter to his classmate General White Horse, who arrives with an army strong enough to overwhelm the rebels. Madam Cui, however, does not live up to her promise, and Zhang is so distraught that he falls very ill. Hongniang eventually arranges a clandestine meeting between the lovers. But Yingying's mother is furious and severely punishes Hongniang for her part in the conspiracy. The maid retorts that the young couple had no alternative but to elope since Madam Cui broke her promise. Abashed and speechless, Madam Cui is forced into submission, but she insists Zhang pass the imperial exam before marrying Yingying. Reluctant to part with his beloved, Zhang finally sets out for Chang'an and six months later passes the exam with flying colors.