Libretto by Winfried Bauernfeind based on the ancient Chinese didactic drama by Ma Chi-Yuan (14th century) in the translation by Hans Rudelsberger (G)
S,M,T,2Bar,B; chorus(may be pre-recorded);
Boosey & Hawkes / Bote & Bock
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes
for the world.
Akademie der Künste, Studio, Berlin
Winfried Bauernfeind, director
Conductor: Ulrich Weder
Company: Ensemble der Deutschen Oper Berlin
|TUNG-HUA, an immortal
|CHING-YANG, a hermit
|MRS. WANG, Innkeeper
|PIEN-FU, a merchant
|YÜ-CHAN, his wife
|LIU-TUNG, a young student
|Dream images: I. TSUI-WO, Liu-Tung's wife, daughter of the Kao (Yü-Chan) - LIU-TUNG - KAO, the emperor's chamberlain (Ching-Yang)
|II. TSUI-WO - KUEI, court official (Pien-Fu) - LIU-TUNG - YÜAN, Kao's old servant (Ching-Yang)
|III. THE EMPEROR'S CHIEF JUSTICE (Ching-Yang) - LIU-TUNG - TSUI-WO - HANGMAN (Pien-Fu) - YÜAN
|IV. LIU-TUNG - LU, a woodcutter (Ching-Yang) - MRS. PO, Wu-Sung's mother (Mrs. Wang) - WU-SUNG, a bandit (Ching-Yang)
Time and Place
China in the Middle Ages. Decor and costumes can be timeless in style.
The hermit, Ching-Yang, is commissioned by the heavenly ones to convert the student, Liu-Tung, who aspires to a distinguished career at the Emperor's court, to the wise teachings of the Tao and thus to the life of an ascetic. First, Ching-Yang puts Liu-Tung into a deep hypnotised sleep in which he demonstrates to him the vain nature of his strivings in four dream images: as the Emperor´s favourite, Liu-Tung is promoted to captain and goes to war. When he returns, he surprises his wife in flagrante with a rival. But he has also brought blame upon himself for, during the war, he took bribes from the enemy and is a traitor. He is caught and sentenced to death. He manages to escape the executioner but, in the end, he is killed while fleeing. – When he awakens from his anxious sleep, Liu-Tung comprehends the meaning of the dreams and renounces all striving for love, power, and riches.