Beijing Opera Classic The Drunken Beauty 京剧经典剧目《贵妃醉酒》


《贵妃醉酒》又名《百花亭》,源于乾隆时花部地方戏《醉杨妃》,是梅派代表剧目,京剧大师梅兰芳倾尽毕生心血精雕细刻的拿手杰作之一。

The Drunken Beauty, also known as The Hundred-Flower Pavilion, is adapted from a local play The Drunken Yang Guifei (a highest-ranking imperial concubine of Emperor Li Longji of the Tang Dynasty), which belongs to Huabu Opera (a general name for all the regional opera types except the kunshan tune) during the period of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. As a representative play of the Mei School and one of the most outstanding works of Beijing Opera master Mei Lanfang, this play is the result of Mei’s life-time effort.

《贵妃醉酒》写的是唐明皇宠妃杨玉环与明皇约在百花亭赴筵,久候明皇不至,原来他早已转驾西宫。贵妃羞怒交加,万端愁绪无以排遣,遂命高力士、裴力士添杯奉盏,饮致大醉,怅然返宫。该剧经梅兰芳加工点缀,成为“梅派”经典演出剧目之一。

The Drunken Beauty tells a story as follows: Yang Guifei, concubine of the Emperor Li Longji of the Tang Dynasty, made an appointment with the emperor one day to attend a banquet at the Hundred-Flower Pavilion, but he didn’t show up because he had gone to another’s concubine’s place – the West Palace. Humiliated and irritated, Yang Guifei felt choked by sadness. She drank heavily, ordering Gao Lishi and Pei Lishi to replenish the cup time and time again until she got drunk. Disappointed, she finally returned to her palace. Touched up by Mei Lanfang, the play became one of the classics of the Mei School.

原来的剧本主要描写杨玉环醉后自赏怀春的心态,格调低俗。五十年代,梅兰芳去芜存精,从人物情感变化入手,从美学角度纠正了它的非艺术倾向。剧中,杨玉环的饮酒从掩袖而饮到随意而饮,梅兰芳以外形动作的变化来表现这个失宠贵妃从内心苦闷、强自作态到不能自制、沉醉失态的心理变化过程。繁重的舞蹈举重若轻,像衔杯、卧鱼、醉步、扇舞等身段难度甚高,演来舒展自然,流贯着美的线条和韵律。

The original libretto, mainly focusing on the sensuality aroused inside Yang Guifei after she got drunk, was quite vulgar. In the 1950s, Mei Lanfang made an effort to discard the dross and retain its essence. Starting with the emotions of the character, he redressed its non-art inclination from the aesthetic perspective. In the play, Yang Yuhuan at first drank with a refined manner with her fan covering her drinking lips and then gradually loosed herself to drink more carelessly. Mei Lanfang, through his physical movements, interpreted the change of her psychological states from the inward depression to the forced self-restraint and then to the loss of control. Skillfully handling the sophisticated dance which involved the highly difficult representation of xianbei (holding the cup with teeth), woyu (movement of elegant laying, one of the basic skills of Beijing Opera performance), zuibu (the staggering steps of a drunk) and wushan (artistically waving a fan), he displayed elegance and beauty.

该剧的突出特征是载歌载舞,通过优美的歌舞动作,细致人微地将杨贵妃期盼、失望、孤独、怨恨的复杂心情一层层揭示出来。如杨贵妃前后三次的饮酒动作,便各有不同:第一次是用扇子遮住酒怀缓缓地缀;第二次是不用扇子遮而快饮;第三次是一仰而尽。之所以如此,是因为开始时她还怕宫人窃笑,因而故作矜持,掩饰着内心的苦闷;但酒人愁肠愁更愁,最后到酒已过量时,心中的懊恼、嫉恨、空虚……便一股脑地倾泄出来。再如三次“衔杯”的动作,也将杨贵妃从初醉到醺醺醉意细致入微地表现出来。这些歌舞化的动作,也体现出杨贵妃骄纵任性和放浪的性格内核。

The combination of singing and dancing is the prominent feature of the play. Through graceful movements, the mixed emotions of Yang Guifei, composed of anticipation, disappointment, loneliness and grudge, were thoroughly revealed. For example, Yang Guifei’s three times of drinking differed from each other: the first cup, she sipped slowly with a fan hiding the cup; then for the second cup she drank quickly without a fan; finally she emptied the third cup at one gulp. Yang Guifei did so because at the beginning, she pretended to be reserved and just kept the sadness to herself in case other people might snicker at her. But instead of chasing away her gloom, the alcohol intensified her sadness. Eventually, her anger, jealousy and emptiness…all poured out. Besides, the three movements of her “holding the cup with teeth” not only portrayed the change of her state from tipsiness to dead drunk, but also showed her overbearing, capricious and wild nature.

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