TIMELESS - Beijing Opera Madame White Snake

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

A little history behind this masterpiece...

WEPLAY Entertainment and The Chinese Performing Arts Center of Nevada USA present Beijing Opera Madame White Snake. The legend first appeared in a collection of vernacular short stories called Stories to Caution the World, compiled by Feng Menglong during the late Ming Dynasty in 1624. Through generations of storytelling, the fable evolved drastically into a romance tale and became wildly popular during the Qing Dynasty. It depicts the fateful love story between a white snake that transfigured into a beautiful lady named Bai Suzhen, and a mortal man, Xu Xian. Included in The National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of China, it is now revered as one of China’s Four Great Folktales.

Beijing Opera, or Peking Opera, is a quintessential cultural art form of China. It embodies the Chinese people’s unique value system, aesthetic preferences, and the spirit of originality. During the late Qing Dynasty, there were already more than a few hundred types of Chinese Opera derived from different dialects. Among these, Beijing Opera is comparatively young. In its more than 200 years of development, Beijing Opera has become the most dominant and exemplary art form, earning its name as the National Opera of China. Madame White Snake was adapted as a Beijing Opera libretto by the great playwright, Mr. Tian Han, during the early 1950s. It quickly became one of the masterpieces in popular Beijing Opera repertoire. In his version, Bai Suzhen’s character is portrayed to be even more compassionate and heroic, showing greater contrast to the man-eating, merciless snake demon in the original folklore.

With its storyline full of romanticism and traditional Chinese mythology, Madame White Snake revolves around a theme of love that is in line with mankind’s hope for a better life. The unique use of symbolism in Beijing Opera, as a traditional Chinese artistic expression, further adds to the mysteriousness of this drama and its infinite space for imagination.

Location & Time:

January 16, 2020 7:30 PM Nicholas J. Horn Theatre - College of Southern Nevada

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February 3, 2020 7:30 PM Judy Bayley Theatre - University of Nevada Las Vegas Please click here to purchase tickets.