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不惧抛玉引砖,歌剧《红楼梦》即将亮相旧金山

更新时间:2016-9-13 11:26:54 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

An American Opera Company Adapts China’s ‘War and Peace’
不惧抛玉引砖,歌剧《红楼梦》即将亮相旧金山

SAN FRANCISCO — It was a week before the premiere, and Bright Sheng, the composer and co-librettist of the new opera “Dream of the Red Chamber,” was already bracing for the backlash.

旧金山――距离首演还有一个星期,新歌剧《红楼梦》的剧本作者之一,作曲家盛宗亮已经准备好迎接强烈的反对意见了。

To create his version of Cao Xueqin’s sprawling 18th-century classic about the decline of an aristocratic family in imperial China, Mr. Sheng reduced the book to its bare bones. The novel — over 2,400 pages in its standard English translation, twice as long as “War and Peace” — is told in a mere two hours and 20 minutes. Hundreds of characters have been cut, leaving just eight main figures in the final show, which runs from Saturday through Sept. 29 at San Francisco Opera.

曹雪芹这部洋洋洒洒的经典小说创作于18世纪,讲述帝制时代中国一个贵族家庭的衰落。为了把它搬上舞台,盛宗亮将全书缩减到只剩骨架。这部小说的标准英译本超过2400页,是《战争与和平》(War and Peace)的两倍,歌剧要在两小时20分钟内讲完它的故事。几百个人物被删去,最终的歌剧里只剩下8个主要人物。该剧将在旧金山歌剧院上演,自周六开始,持续公演到9月29日。

The book’s many die-hard fans may not be pleased.

该书的死忠书迷可能会感到不快。

“You can’t win with this, no matter what you do,” Mr. Sheng said after a recent rehearsal. “People will love you or hate you.”

“你不管怎么做都不会成功,”盛宗亮在不久前的彩排时说。“有人会爱你,有人会恨你。”

Such are the perils of adapting any beloved story. And to many in the Chinese-speaking world, “Dream of the Red Chamber” is that and more, widely regarded as a masterpiece — if not the masterpiece — of Chinese literature. Realizing the inevitable weight of expectations, the San Francisco Opera enlisted a team of creative heavyweights, all of Asian descent, to create the $3 million production.

改编任何深受喜爱的故事都会有这样的风险。对于华语世界中的许多人来说,《红楼梦》不仅受人喜爱,更被视为中国文学的杰出代表作——即使不是唯一的杰出代表作。旧金山歌剧院意识到了来自公众的不可避免的沉重期待,因此聘请了一个重量级的亚裔创作团队来打造这部斥资300万美元的歌剧。

Mr. Sheng wrote the libretto with David Henry Hwang, the Tony Award-winning playwright. Stan Lai, an acclaimed playwright and director, has staged the work, and Tim Yip, who won an Academy Award for art direction for his work on Ang Lee’s film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” has designed the sets and costumes. The opera will be sung in English and accompanied by supertitles in English and Chinese.

盛宗亮同托尼奖获奖编剧黄哲伦一起创作剧本。著名舞台剧编剧和导演赖声川担任导演。凭借在李安《卧虎藏龙》中的工作获得奥斯卡最佳艺术指导奖的叶锦添负责布景和服装设计。这部歌剧将以英文演唱,配有中英文字幕。

“We wanted it to have its own authenticity as a piece of operatic storytelling,” said Matthew Shilvock, San Francisco Opera’s new general director. “But we also wanted it to be something that would resonate with people who grew up with and love the novel, as well.”

“我们希望它作为一部歌剧,有其自身的原创性,”旧金山歌剧院的新任总导演马修·希尔沃克(Matthew Shilvock)说。“但是我们也希望它和那些读这部小说长大并且深爱着它的人们产生共鸣。”

A number of Chinese-Western amalgam operas have been created in recent years. Many of these, including the Metropolitan Opera’s “First Emperor,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Madame White Snake” and even the San Francisco Opera’s “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” have struggled to enter the repertory.

近年来,有很多中西糅合的歌剧被搬上舞台。其中不少要想成为经典保留剧目都很困难,包括大都会歌剧院上演的《秦始皇》、获得普利策奖的《白蛇传》、甚至还有旧金山歌剧院的《接骨师之女》(The Bonesetter’s Daughter)。

Still, Mr. Shilvock said, presenting new work “also has great potential to attract excitement in a way that the standard repertory piece doesn’t always.”

然而,希尔沃克说,推出新剧目“在吸引观剧热情方面很有潜力,经典剧目并不总能起到同样效果”。

With “Dream of the Red Chamber,” the company is seeking to tap a growing interest in Western-style opera among Asians and Asian-Americans in the Bay Area. The production arrives eight years after San Francisco Opera’s highly successful premiere run of “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” based on Amy Tan’s novel about a Chinese-American family.

湾区的亚洲人和亚裔美国人对西式歌剧兴趣越来越浓厚,剧团推出《红楼梦》,是想借助观众的这股兴趣。八年前,旧金山歌剧院推出根据谭恩美的小说改编的歌剧《接骨师之女》,讲述一个华裔美国家庭的故事,首轮演出获得了巨大的成功。

“‘Bonesetter’s Daughter’ was very, very popular and it was certainly the most popular new work that we did here during my time,” said David Gockley, who retired in July as the company’s general director. “Its success caused me to have my ear to the ground to locate another piece that would be interesting for our Chinese population.”

“《接骨师之女》非常非常受欢迎,无疑是我在任那段时间里,我们推出的最受欢迎的新剧目,”剧院前任总导演,今年7月退休的大卫·戈克利(David Gockley)说。“它的成功让我集中精力,寻找下一部能让我们的华裔人口感兴趣的剧目。”

Not long after “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” the Minneapolis-based Chinese Heritage Foundation approached Mr. Gockley about adapting “Dream of the Red Chamber.”

《接骨师之女》之后不久,坐落在明尼阿波利斯的中国传统基金会(Chinese Heritage Foundation)和戈克利联系,商讨改编《红楼梦》事宜。

“I, of course, Googled it to death,” he said, “and learned more about it from members of our Chinese community here in San Francisco. The response I got was that there is not a Chinese or a Chinese-American that has not grown up and had some contact with this piece in some form.”

“我当然是拼命地用谷歌去搜索它,”他说,“然后我也从旧金山的华人社区成员中了解到不少东西。我得到的反应是,所有中国人或者华裔美国人没有一个不是从小在这个故事的耳濡目染中长大的,都接触到它的某种形式的演绎。”

Mr. Gockley turned to Mr. Sheng, a composer known for his skillful synthesis of traditional Chinese and Western musical styles. Even before signing on, the Shanghai-born Mr. Sheng was already what he called a “dilettante Redologist,” a nickname for the literary scholars who have dedicated their lives to studying the novel. Having read the book several times — first as a teenager during the Cultural Revolution, when it was banned — he understood the scale of the task.

戈克利找到盛宗亮。这位作曲家以娴熟地将中国传统音乐形式与西方音乐形式结合起来而著称。受雇创作本剧之前,上海出生的盛宗亮就已经自称“业余红学家”——“红学家”是指那种贡献毕生来研究《红楼梦》的文学学者。盛宗亮最早读这本小说是在“文化大革命”期间,当时他才只有十几岁,这本书是禁书。之后他又读过好几遍,他充分理解这项任务有多么艰巨。

Deciding to focus on the central love triangle, Mr. Sheng was able to persuade Mr. Hwang, who had rebuffed initial requests, to write the libretto.

盛宗亮决定把焦点放在小说核心的三角恋爱上,并且说服一开始拒绝了邀请的黄哲伦与他联手创作剧本。

“In the beginning, it just seemed like there were a lot of ways we could get it wrong,” Mr. Hwang said. “Really, the thing that convinced me was that Bright had a vision about how to boil the story down.”

“一开始,似乎我们怎么做都肯定会错,”黄哲伦说,“真的,最后说服了我的是盛宗亮对如何浓缩这个故事有一个设想。”

“Plus,” he added jokingly, “Bright grew up during the Cultural Revolution in China, and I grew up in L.A., so his will is stronger than mine.”

“另外,”他又打趣道,“盛宗亮在文革时期的中国长大,我在洛杉矶长大,所以他的意志比我坚强。”

Mr. Yip, the designer, who previously worked on a Chinese television adaptation of the novel, has sought to create a dreamlike effect with the sets. Painted panels rise and fall to create different patterns, like a loom — a reference to Cao Xueqin’s family business, making silk brocade for the emperor.

美术指导叶锦添之前曾为一部由这部小说改编的中国电视剧担任美术指导。他努力通过舞台布景创造出梦幻般的效果。彩绘的板子可以升降,创造出不同的图案,就像织布机——这也暗指了曹雪芹家族的职业:皇家织造。

The opera revolves around the mythological Stone and Flower, who come down to earth from heaven. Stone becomes Bao Yu (in San Francisco, the tenor Yijie Shi), the spoiled heir to the wealthy Jia family, and Flower becomes Dai Yu (the soprano Pureum Jo), a sickly, poetic young woman who comes to live with the Jias after the death of her mother.

这部歌剧围绕灵石和仙草的神话展开。他们双双从天上降落凡间。灵石变成了宝玉(在旧金山,由男高音歌唱家石倚洁饰演),他是贾府被宠坏了的家业继承人;仙草变成了黛玉(女高音歌唱家赵璞乐饰),她是孱弱多病、充满诗意的年轻女子,母亲去世后搬进贾府居住。

Bao Yu and Dai Yu are in love, but his mother orders him to marry Bao Chai (the mezzo-soprano Irene Roberts), a beautiful heiress, to pay back the Jia family’s debt to the emperor. Bao Yu is defiant, but his love for Dai Yu is ultimately thwarted in a bride swap during a climactic wedding scene. In the final sequence, Dai Yu departs in a mournful chorus: “When spring has fled, and beauty is spent, who cares for the fallen petals? Both flower and maiden return to dust.”

宝玉和黛玉陷入爱河,但宝玉的母亲命令他与宝钗(女中音歌唱家艾琳·罗伯茨[Irene Roberts]饰)结婚——宝钗是一位美丽的女继承人——以偿还贾家欠皇帝的债。宝玉坚决反对,但在高潮部分的婚礼场景中,新娘被调换,他对黛玉的爱付诸东流。在最后一幕,黛玉在悲伤的合唱中离去:“一朝春尽红颜老,花落人亡两不知。”

Mr. Lai, the director, said: “Impermanence and the fleeting quality of life — these are things that are very Buddhist and quintessentially Chinese. The biggest challenge was expressing these kinds of ideas for a Western audience in the limited moments you have.”

导演赖声川说:“人生的无常和短暂——这是典型的佛家思想和中国思想。最大的挑战是在有限的时间里把这种观念传达给西方观众。”

In March, the opera will travel to the Hong Kong Arts Festival, which co-produced the work, and may tour elsewhere in Asia. Plans are already underway to translate the libretto into the classical Chinese in which the novel was originally written.

明年3月,该剧将在香港艺术节(Hong Kong Arts Festival)上演出,该艺术节也是这部剧的联合制作者。之后可能在亚洲的其他地方巡演。目前已在推进计划,把剧本翻译成中国古典白话——这本小说最初就是用这种语言写的。

The opera may then face a tougher, more discerning audience among those even more familiar with the book, but Mr. Sheng seemed unfazed.

届时,该剧将面对一群更严苛、更具洞察力的观众,他们对《红楼梦》更熟悉。不过盛宗亮似乎并不担心。

“If you ask 10 different Redologists what the novel is about, they would give you 10 different answers,” he said. “And if anyone asks me what this opera is about, I’ll say it’s a story of a love triangle. That’s it.”

“如果你问10名红学家这本小说是讲什么的,他们会给你10种不同的回答,”他说,“如果有人问我这部歌剧是讲什么的,我会说,一个三角恋爱情故事。就是这样。”

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