Shaoxing opera: Daiyu’s death

This is a Shaoxing opera version of Daiyu’s death scene.  She knows she is dying; she  burns her poems. An English translation of the aria is in the text box at the bottom of this page. The scene is a conversation between Daiyu and her maid Zijuan 紫鵑 (Nightingale in the Hawkes translation.)  The performers are XU Yulan(徐玉兰) and WANG Wenjuan(王文娟).

Translation of Yue Opera performance of Daiyu’s death scene

(text taken from Youtube)

Cast: XU Yulan(徐玉兰), WANG Wenjuan(王文娟)
Male role: XU School(徐派)
Female role: WANG School(王派)

Daiyu: I do understand all your kindness.
You have persuaded me so many times.
But what can I do now that I’m dying.
My anger and complaints can’t be cured by medicine.
The only thing I got is that I couldn’t go back home far away.
The world comes to its end and I’m going to die.

Zijuan: Mistress, your health is your invaluable treasure.
Please don’t say any more that hurt my heart so much.
Good medicine is always available for your disease.
Not to say everyone in the family cherishes you the most.
The Old Lady treasures you as pearl in her palm.
All the Mistresses are intimate with you heart-to-heart.

Daiyu: Stop it! Don’t mention anyone in the family, Zijuan
Who really cares for me as a member of the family?
Zijuan, only you know me the most.
Give me all my poems!

Zijuan: You may read them when you get better

Daiyu: No, give them to me now!
Give me the one with handwriting

Zijuan: Dear Mistress, why do you irritate yourself with them?
My Mistress, the charcoal fumes may do harm to you

Daiyu: For all my life, poems and books have been my closest friends.
Brushes and ink are my blood and flesh.
Remember that I ranked first with my poems on chrysanthemums.
Set up the Crabapple Club to compete with fresh poems.
Worked out new lyrics in the Happy Red Court.
and discussed classical poems in Bamboo Lodge.
All my life has been devoted to poems.
Now the memory hasn’t faded away and the ink is still wet.
These poems are not fishing for fame and compliments.
All I hope is to find a bosom friend who can appreciate.
But now the bosom friend has gone away.
How can I still keep these poems any longer?
Have all the heartbroken poems burned in the fire.
This handkerchief with poems on used to be carried by him all the time.
It has wiped my tears time and time again.
Who knows his heart is changed with the poem handkerchief is still new?
What a pity my devotion has been paid by his hypocrisy!
If I had known human feelings were thinner than paper.
I wouldn’t have kept the poem handkerchief till now.
Today sees the end of all my love.



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