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Sichuan Opera performer Cui Guangli

2009-06-25 09:00 BJT


Sichuan Opera's Cui Guangli has played many tragic women who are separated from their men. Perhaps in compensation, fate gave her a perfect love life. But she didn't meet her other half until last year, at the age of forty-five. But that doesn't mean she's been alone all this time. For over thirty years, she's had a lover called Sichuan Opera.

This is the theater of the Chengdu Opera Troupe.

Cui Guangli is rehearsing for her role in Liu Yin Jin, or "The Shade of the Willow."

The Sichuan Opera version of the Butterfly Lovers story is classic.

In this scene, Cui plays Zhu Yingtai reuniting with Liang Shanbo, the love of her life. It is at this point that Liang discovers his fellow student Zhu is a girl.

Cui first staged the drama in 1994, and it caused a sensation in Chengdu.

A dozen years later, she would play it again at the Chengdu Jin Jiang Theater.

But Cui knew she could do better.

So she asked her teacher, veteran opera star Xu Qianyun, to watch the rehearsal.