- Chinese Romantic Musical presented by Da Feng Theatre
Dates: 11th - 14th September 2003
Venue: Taipei National Theatre
Huang Shi Wei
Zhang Dan Wei
Ni Hong Quan
Part of the cast in the studio recording the musical's EP
The Story (Da Feng's version) :
Butterfly Lovers (also known as Liang Shan Bo and Zhu Ying Tai or for short, Liang Zhu)
is a very famous Chinese folktale of two lovers who found happiness in being reborn as butterflies.
Da Feng's version of the story started with an old man reminiscing a woman he loved greatly,
but who never belonged to him.
This old man is Ma Wen Tsai and the woman he missed so much is Zhu Ying Tai.
Ying Tai is the talented daughter of a wealthy family in ancient China.
Based on her love for pursuit of knowledge, she pleaded with her parents to allow her to go to school.
Her parents refused as it is not acceptable for girls to go to school in those ancient times.
To achieve her dream, she disguised herself as a man and left home for the city to go to school,
against her parents' wishes. On her way to the city, she met this down-to-earth and honest
young chap - Liang Shan Bo. Distinct from Ying Tai, Shan Bo is the only son of a very poor family.
As time passes, Ying Tai fell in love with Shan Bo, but Shan Bo never realise that Ying Tai is a lady.
Amongst Ying Tai's and Shan Bo's classmates is this young, handsome and rich fellow called Ma Wen Tsai.
It happened that Ma also came from Ying Tai's hometown. Ma, who was already earlier attracted to
Ying Tai's talent even back at their hometown, recognised Ying Tai in disguise.
One day, Ma showed her a letter from her parents. From the letter, she learnt that her parents had fallen sick from
worry since she left home. Being a filial daughter, she decided to disrupt her studies to go home.
As good buddies, Shan Bo did not bear to see his "good brother" go home so he accompanied Ying Tai on
her way home. Along the way, Ying Tai dropped many hints to Shan Bo about her real identity.
But the simple-minded Shan Bo did not understand any of her hints.
To the extent that Ying Tai had to bare herself in front of him to show him that she is not a man.
Overwhelmed with joy by the truth, they promised to wait for each other and will marry none else.
However, after Ying Tai returned home, Ma sent a marriage proposal to her father
and asked for her hand. Ying Tai's father agreed readily but Ying Tai was much
against the marriage proposal, as she had already fallen in love with Shan Bo.
Her father understood her feelings for Shan Bo,
but explained to her the consequences of her not accepting Ma's proposal.
Ma came from an influential family and she was worried that Shan Bo and her family might come
to harm if she did not accept the proposal. To protect her loved ones, she painfully accepted
On the other hand, Shan Bo who missed Ying Tai day and night since she left school,
decided to go and look for her even before completing his studies.
When he arrived at Ying Tai's house and heard that she had been betrothed to Ma, he was devastated.
Worried that Shan Bo would get into trouble because of her,
she had to suppress her own true feelings toward Shan Bo & persuade him to quickly go back to school,
complete his studies, then go home to his awaiting mother and get settled down.
Heart broken and filled with grief, after Shan Bo left Ying Tai's home, he bumped into Ma.
They got into an argument and even fought.
But Shan Bo was no fight for Ma's servants and got seriously injured. Not wanting to hurt Shan Bo further,
Ma stopped his servants from hitting Shan Bo and even gave him some money to see a doctor for his injuries.
However, Shan Bo finally died from his injuries.
When Ying Tai heard about Shan Bo's death on her wedding day, she was shattered.
She begged her father and Ma to allow her to visit Shan Bo's grave on the wedding party's way to
Ma's house. Although her father was disagreeable, Ma relented based on his love for Ying Tai.
However, at Shan Bo's grave, Ying Tai was so extremely grieved that she made up her mind &
followed Shan Bo in his death.
Soon after, two butterflies flew out of the grave. This is why this folktale is known as "Butterfly Lovers".
The Musical :
Over the many years, Butterfly Lovers has been performed again & again in various forms such as movies, TV series,
It is now being presented as a Chinese Musical by Mel Yang, a renowned Taiwanese art performer.
In this musical, Mel & Yiu Kwong-Chung, (Taiwan's best known and most often performed composer) combines
the essence of the various types of music, such as Chinese traditional operas, western operas, contemporary
The creative team led by Mel, strives to give the audience a new experience/ perspective of the Chinese love
legend by composing completely new songs with new lyrics for the musical.
Through the new set of lyrics, the Director aim to answer thought-provoking questions such as:
Why did Zhu Ying Tai die for Liang Shan Bo?
Why did she go against her parents' wishes to pursue a love that is not accepted by all?
Is it due to a rebellious streak in her?
Or is it out of pity for Liang? Or is it out of a passion to pursue perfection in life?
In addition, a different Ma Wen Tsai was being presented. All these while, Ma was typically known to be a rich
but fat and ugly villain; however, in this version of the musical, the producer had re-created Ma as a sentimental,
talented, young and handsome chap whose feelings for Ying Tai never changed even with time.
Berson Wang and Winnie Hsin, played the roles of Liang Shan Bo and Zhu Ying Tai respectively.
Berson Wang and Winnie Hsin
Berson is a very seasoned stage performer excelling in acting, singing and dancing, whereas Winnie is an
experienced professional singer who has been trained vocally. Although Butterfly Lover is Winnie's debut in
musical performance, Mel is confident that she will bring out the unwavering spirit in Ying Tai's personality.
Initially, Winnie went into practices with many fears and worries.
Although singing is her forte, this musical is her first attempt in acting and she has never gone through any
training in it. Subsequently, with lots of support and encouragement from the director & the other experienced
co-actors/ actresses, she found herself fitting into Ying Tai's role comfortably.
She sees a great similarity in character between herself & Ying Tai -
both exemplify great courage when pursuing one's love in life.
Winnie Hsin in blue shirt, taking a group photo with some of her hardcore fans,
on Mid Autumn Festival (11 Sept 2003) after her debut performance.
Winnie, you were brilliant and all of us are very proud of you.
We love you for who you are and it did not matter
to us at all even if you might have fumbled in any way on stage.
You may not be the best actress
(you must be a genius if you are the best actress as you only had
a very short time to master everything),
but trust us when we say you are always the best in our hearts.
You will always have our fullest support in everything,
and all of us indeed have lots to learn from you -
Humble, willing to learn, never
fearful of hardships.
You really deserve a good break after more than a month
of eating and breathing "Butterfly Lovers" everyday.
We look forward eagerly to your new works and
being touched again by your beautiful voice and your songs.
Lastly, we are grateful that you treat us as your friends and not as outsiders.
Kelly (from Kaoshiung Taiwan):
誰能像我們這麼幸運：) 呵呵呵呵~~ (我好開心一直笑)。
On 11th Sept 2003, I flew to Taipei to watch Butterfly Lovers. This is Winnie's first musical and she had put in
a lot of effort in it. I felt that it would definitely worth the trip. It was Mid Autumn Festival and the night was cloudy.
In Taipei's National Theatre, the show started promptly at 7.30 pm when the orchestra conductor made her
The first part of the show lasted for about an hour and started off on a lighter note. Winnie sang very well,
but was rather tensed & a little self-conscious.
During the second part of the show, the atmosphere was intensified with scenes of Ying Tai wanting to defy
her parents' wishes of accepting Ma's proposal, Ying Tai's meeting with Shan Bo at the Tower & her struggle
between self-denial of her love and consideration of her loved ones' wellness. It ended with Ying Tai & Shan Bo
being transformed into butterflies after their deaths & with Ma still thinking about Ying Tai even in his old age.
The orchestra was brilliant in their performance. The music was very beautifully composed. The actors did well.
Even though it was Winnie's debut in musical, and she might not have acted as perfectly as she hoped,
she sang very well. Many hearts were touched by her beautiful vocal.
During the rehearsals, Winnie & Berson had some difficulties in putting up the part on their meeting at the
Tower; they were always so touched by the story that they themselves could not help but break down in tears
and as such, could not continue acting. However, during the performance, Winnie controlled her feelings well
and did not break down in tears to the extent where her acting was affected.
Many audiences were engaged into their inner feelings by this touching scene.
5 other friends and myself were so touched that we stood up in appreciation at the end of the performance &
applauded all the performers in their brilliant effort.
After the show, we also had a chance to meet up with Winnie briefly and she kindly autographed on our
programme booklets as momentos. Once again, she was very friendly, chatted with us a little even though
she was already quite tired after the performance. She even spontaneously gave each of us a hug
when she saw us. A very personal encounter indeed.
The following night, I went for another round of the performance and found that Winnie was less nervous & acted
more at ease. A marked difference from the first performance. As I watched her, I was so joyous that she managed
to pull herself together and put up a brilliant show. After the performance, I am very confident that Winnie will only
get better and better with each performance, YES! She has done it!
Whatever it is, it is Winnie's courage and her diligence that left a deep impression in me.
Although this is her first musical and she faced many difficulties, challenges, and even fears of failure,
she pressed on undaunted.
It was challenging, and I dare say, Winnie must be feeling very rewarded now by this valuable experience.
Thankful that "Butterfly Lovers" has brought out the best in Winnie.
(I will remember this autumn for a long long time ... ... ... )
Winnie's thoughts after her performances:
我記得上次掉下“這種”眼淚 是在我大學畢業巡迴演出， 在我的家鄉台中中興堂演唱完後；
這真是一個深刻而慘痛的記憶啊！套句導演說的， 對我是一個 “震撼教育”， 但，
唱著我自己的歌， 在經過“梁祝”的洗禮後， 肯定會有極不同的衝動與感受。
都能共同努力讓 “梁祝” 繼續發光發熱，
Winnie in celebration with the some of the team members behind the success of the musical
Footnotes: Most pictures are taken from Liang Zhu's official website. (http://www.liang-zhu.com)