Cina Vicina Festival | Cheng Ying Saves the Orphan of the Zhao | Henan Opera House

The journey to the Auditorium yesterday evening on the back of a moped was decidedly hairy – as I've mentioned in previously posts, I'm not keen on Rome traffic and have abandoned driving a car here - but yesterday was sheer pandemonium. As it happened, veteran Italian rocker Vasco Rossi was playing to a packed Olympic Stadium last night, attended, by the look of the roads, by just about everybody – except us. In fact, on arriving at the Auditorium, the place seemed strangely empty – we entered in a side door and walked the entire length of the entrance foyer without seeing a soul – clearly traditional Chinese Yu Opera was less of a crowd puller in Rome than Vasco!
Thankfully, however, Sala Petrassi turned out to be reasonably full for what turned out to be an absolutely enthralling performance by the 2nd Corp of the Henan Opera House of the Yu Opera Cheng Ying Saves the Orphan of the Zhao. I'm a huge fan of Chinese and Hong Kong cinema and loved every second of this tragic tale of personal sacrifice, vendetta and revenge. Li Shujian, in the lead role of Cheng Ying was extraordinary – his long anguished lament for his slain friend Gongsun (played by Gao Hongqi) and his own newborn son – was mesmerizing. The actors were rapturously applauded at the opera's close as were the musicians of the Second Yuju Orchestra of Henan Province who had actually taken no formal bows at the end of the performance, but whom somebody from the gallery had spotted as they discreetly packed up their traditional Chinese instruments and made to leave the stage.

For full cast details of the performance click here.