The Butterfly Lovers January 24, 2011 12:39 PMSubscribe
Star-crossed lovers are of course a trope as old as storytelling itself, but Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, the Butterfly Lovers of Chinese mythology may be new to many. Also encompassing tropes such as Sweet Polly Oliver, the legend tells of the tragic love between two students in the Jin dynasty, one a girl disguised as a boy so she could attend school. Often called the Chinese Romeo and Juliet (despite predating Shakespeare by hundreds of years), the story of Liang Zhu has been adapted into many forms, including TV series and an English stage play. But the most famous adaptation is also the most well known Chinese musical work in the West, The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto. Written by two students at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1959, the work blends Western and Chinese musical influences.
As performed by Lu Siqing: Part 1: Meeting and blossoming of love. Part 2: Separation and death. Part 3: Transformation into butterflies.