Yue Opera Butterfly Love hit on stage


ON the night of November 8th, a Classical Chinese tale was performed at the ECNU campus. The Yue Opera’s Butterfly Love was acted on stage by the Shanghai Yue Opera Troupe at the concert hall of Zizhu Basic Education Zone, bringing all of the beauty of Chinese culture to a live audience of ECNU faculty and students. 

The Shanghai Yue Opera Troupe at the concert hall of Zizhu Basic Education Zone.

Butterfly Love, reputed as the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet, is a love story that has been passed down in China for more than 1000 years. The heroine Zhu Yingtai is a women disguised as a man who meets Liang Shanbo, a classmate of hers for 3 years, during which a pure and subtle affection grows between them. 

However, when Zhu is ordered to return home at her father’s request, she reveals her true identity to the headmaster's wife and requests her to hand over a jade pendant to Liang as a gift to express her love. 

Liang then accompanies Zhu - his sworn brother - for 18 miles of what could be their last meeting. On the way, Zhu hints to Liang that she is actually a woman, but it doesn’t register to Liang who is still clueless to her real identity. Zhu finally comes up with an idea and tells Liang that she will act as a matchmaker for him and her sister. They reluctantly leave each other at Changting pavilion. 

Months later, when Liang visits Zhu, he discovers that she is actually a woman in surprising fashion. But due to their passion for each, they make a vow of till death do us part. 

Scene photos.

Unfortunately, Zhu’s family has already given her away to a man named Ma Wencai from a rich family background. Being forced against her will to marry into Ma’s family, violent conflict ensues between family members of the various clans. 

Nevertheless, they fight to the death - for their love and happiness together. And they turn into a pair of butterflies. The tragic legend of Zhu and Liang shows the audience pure love and freedom to love. They live together as butterflies after death never to be separated again. 

At the closure of the play at ECNU, the audience burst into a thunderous applause as the curtain fell. Yue culture and Classical Chinese stories are still widely accepted and recognized in China as its traditional theatre. It’s charm has lived on for many centuries and intends to be passed on for more. 

Translated by Siyuan Zhang    Proofread by Joshua Mayfield    Reviewed by Wenjun Guo


East China Normal University