Music for a Monday: Madame White Snake

Something a bit different this morning, in honour of the Lunar New Year.  It occurred to me yesterday, as I sat in church, listening to the sounds of the big Chinese New Year festivities going on just outside, that I actually have no idea what classical Chinese music sounds like.  In fact, my husband knows more about this than I do, because he sometimes watches Chinese films.  (Well, films in general, really.  I start getting restless after half an hour in front of of TV or other screen, and have a tendency to start talking to all the stupid people who need to be told.  This does not make me a very desirable cinema-going companion.)

Anyway, given my penchant for singing, Chinese opera seemed like the place to start.  Knowing nothing about opera, but figuring that this was the Year of the Snake, I cheerfully Googled ‘Chinese Opera Snake’ to see what happened.

This turned out to be an excellent idea, except for the part where it ate about an hour out of my evening.  There is, as it turns out, a Chinese Legend  of the White Snake, which has been turned into operas by a variety of different composers, in both traditionally Chinese and more conventionally Western musical styles.

Here are three different interpretations for your enjoyment… Continue reading

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