New Taiwanese Opera
Miwa YANAGI ShiuKim Taiwanese Opera Troupe Chun-Mei Taiwanese Opera Troupe Ming Hwa Yuan Arts & Cultural Group
Producer/ LIN Mun-Lee Doctoral degree in education from the University of Tokyo; current Chairperson of the National Culture and Arts Foundation (NCAF); emeritus professor at the Department of Arts and Design, National Taipei University of Education
The new Taiwanese opera Aphrodite
Group. Taiwanese opera librettist
is not only the grand finale of the
and screenwriter WANG You-hui,
Taiwan NOW arts project, but also an
composer CHOU Yi-Chien, arranger
exciting drama co-created and co-
CHU Yun-Song, and costume
produced by Taiwan and Japan. Miwa
designer CHIN Ping-ping are invited
YANAGI, a well-known Japanese
to fuse contemporary aesthetics
contemporary artist, has long been
and techniques into Taiwanese
fascinated by the natural ecology
traditional folk art. Combining
and folk activities of Taiwan. Having
contemporary images, lighting and
a deep affection for the island, she
mechanical installations of orchids,
was invited to create a play based on
this co-production showcases the
Taiwan's unique endemic butterfly
power of cross-domain and cross-
orchids (Phalaenopsis aphrodite) as
the overarching theme to tell the journey of change for white butterfly
Conceived before the pandemic,
orchids through Taiwanese opera.
Aphrodite has weathered through the fear and helplessness of the
Building on the creative concept
COVID scare. And now, Aphrodite
of Miwa YANAGI, the play brings
bravely blossoms despite the
together three major Taiwanese
opera troupes in south Taiwan—
Shiu-Kim Taiwanese Opera Troupe,
It tells more than just the story
Chun-Mei Taiwanese Opera Troupe,
of Taiwan, but also the story of
and Ming Hwa Yuan Arts & Cultural
Photo of Phalaenopsis aphrodite Phalaenopsis aphrodite Thanks to Dr. Cecilia Koo Botanic Conservation Center (KBCC) Photo credit: Miwa Yanagi
Script, Director and Stage Design/ Miwa YANAGI Visual artist and stage director. MFA from Kyoto City University of Arts. Starting in the summer of 2016, her Wing of the Sun outdoor theater play, performed on a Taiwan-made mobile stage truck, toured around various parts of Japan.
Embracing flowers and gifting
centuries of artificial pollination,
mass production has been made possible in recent years.
Taiwan has many native orchids. The richness and diversity of these
A trip to Orchid Island five years
orchids give us a glimpse of the
ago initiated my investigation into
profundity of Taiwan's nature.
Taiwan's endemic orchids. The white butterfly orchids that used to
Orchids are epiphytic plants
bloom in the mountains of Orchid
that adapt themselves to the
Island became famous after it was
environment and constantly
discovered and was given name of
change their forms to continue
Phalaenopsis aphrodite, the name
their survival. By allowing fungi to
of the goddess of beauty. Nowadays,
grow on their roots, they maintain
it's very difficult to find wild
a symbiotic relationship with
Phalaenopsis aphrodite, so it has
other plants as they evolve. After
become a coveted dream species. 3
Strangely enough, people in Japan
In the difficult circumstances under
have a soft spot for white butterfly
the pandemic, the crew in both
orchids, as they are must-have
Taiwan and Japan have worked
expensive gifts at weddings and
together to create this production—
funerals. The large, spreading petals
from the lyrics, music, to the
look like pure white plastic. After
costumes. I can't help but imagine
the ceremonies, most of the orchids
that in the distant future, Aphrodite
are destined to be discarded. For
can become a traditional play that
years, I have wanted to create a
lives on in Taiwan, performed in
theater production based on orchids.
front of temples to continue to sing the orchid story.
When I received the invitation from Taiwan NOW to create a
In my heart, Taiwan's cultural
Taiwanese opera with the theme
diversity is like the beautiful
of flowers, Phalaenopsis aphrodite
resilience of wild plants. Even after
immediately came to mind. I am
being manipulated and having its
also deeply fascinated by the charm
appearance altered by external
of Taiwanese opera performed in
forces, Taiwan continues to be the
cradle of these resilient flowers. I am grateful to have this opportunity to use this wonderful cultural exchange to offer these beautiful flowers to all the Taiwanese friends in Japan.
Photo of Phalaenopsis aphrodite specimen A Phalaenopsis aphrodite specimen collected from Redhead Island (today's Orchid Island) in 1920 Thanks to TAI Herbarium at National Taiwan University 4
Lyrics and Script for Taiwanese Opera/ Yu-Hui WANG A veteran theater professional; professor and chair of the Graduate Institute of Children's Literature at National Taitung University. An active choreographer, director, and performer in Taiwan's modern theaters, as well as a playwright-director in traditional opera.
Aphrodite orchids in full bloom –
working Taiwanese opera script. The
language we use in everyday life has undergone tremendous changes.
Let it be visual art or theater
Letting the audience understand
productions, director Miwa
the words in a new creation of
YANAGI has always had a keen
Taiwanese opera is only the
eye for social criticism and avant-
beginning. What's more important
garde approaches. How can her
is to bring out the vocal rhythms of
reflective insight and collision with
the singing and speaking parts, and
reality be enmeshed in the fabric
to shine a spotlight on the literary
of a mythical story? And how can
beauty of Taiwanese Hokkien that
we create moving and thought-
has been neglected or even belittled
provoking scenes through the power
in the past.
of Taiwanese opera singing? That was the most brain intensive part
This is a mythical story about
of assisting the director during the
orchids crossing the seas, and also a
fable that reminds us not to forget
On the other hand, it was also a
our beginnings. Who knew that
struggle in my attempt to integrate
orchids and Taiwanese opera share
contemporary thinking and
a similar life story? Aphrodite,
pragmatics into the traditional
incepted but dormant under the
Taiwanese opera performance.
pandemic, finally blooms, ready to
It was a challenge to translate
blossom in front of the audience.
the script from Japanese into a 5
Story Summary Aphrodite tells the story of the intertwined fate of orchid fairies who have lived a carefree long life, villagers who live among orchids, and people who are obsessed with
the beauty of orchids and the wealth
Orchid Fairy 1 / CHANG Shiu-kim /
A white butterfly orchid fairy living in the secluded Orchid Realm
In the secluded Orchid Realm tucked away in the mountains of an island,
Orchid Fairy 2 / ZHUANG Jin-mei /
a stunning variety of orchids are in
Another white butterfly orchid fairy
full bloom. The Aphrodite orchids
living in the secluded Orchid Realm
are the particularly beautiful white butterfly orchids. The children in
Professor Sen / CHEN Chao-hsiang /
Orchid Realm listen to the orchid
fairies' songs and sing along with them.
Mr. Lin / KUO Chun-mei / A botanist
One day, Professor Sen, an anthropologist who has been
Mana / SUN Shi-wen /
studying Orchid Realm, brings
A girl who grew up in Orchid Realm
botanist Mr. Lin with him to this untouched place. At first sight, Mr.
Orchid Merchant / Mi-Hsueh /
Lin is immediately intoxicated by
A businessman who knows how the
the beauty of the Aphrodite orchid
money game works
fairies. He secretly takes an orchid fairy out of Orchid Realm. In his
The Three Boys of Orchid Realm /
lab, Mr. Lin studies to improve the
SUN Kai-lin, WU Yi-xuan, ZHANG
Aphrodite orchid, making it whiter
and bigger. A merchant who sees the Aphrodite orchid visits Lin's lab
Wild Orchid /
and proposes to mass produce it.
JIAN Jia-yi, GUO Jia-ling, LIN Yu-ting, LIN Jia-xin, YANG Xiu-mei, CHEN
As a result, the DNA of the
Man-ling, CHEN Min-hua, CHEN Hui-
Aphrodite orchid is continuously
being cloned and bred. The chorus of the mass-produced cloned orchids
Cloned Orchid Chorus /
finally drown out the faint singing
Shu-Te University Department of
voice of the wild orchids in Orchid
Overture - The Orchid Legacy Song A <The Beginning of Orchids> Orchid Fairys 1 & 2
When the heavens and earth were created in the ancient times, the seas swelled and the mountains moved. Islands rose up in the seas and beautiful ethereal sounds washed over like the rainbow.
Born with the power to see into the future, ancient trees grow entwined with reishi and orchids. The seeds come from thousands of miles away, untainted by dust and enchanted by butterflies.
The white flowers are pure and innocent, living carefree in timeless nature. Hidden from the world for many years, they are uninterested in mundane affairs.
B <The Tale of Orchids> 1 Fairy 2 Fairy 1 Fairy 2
In the deep mountains of the island, I'm wearing white and smelling a sweet scent. Ancient tunes are carried by the wind,
the flowers bloom as I tread on the clouds.
Like a butterfly fluttering away from home,
sorrows and joys, parting and reunion are
Into the world across the seas, the orchids
impermanence. continue to sing. The orchids continue to sing.
White orchids, oh white orchids......
Act 1 - Orchid Realm B <The Tale of Orchids> 2 Mana, Three Boys
Like a butterfly fluttering away from home, sorrows and joys, parting and reunion are impermanence. Into the world across the seas, the orchids continue to sing. The orchids continue to sing.
C <Marvel of the Orchids> 1 Sen
Searching for wonders across the island, I've discovered the secluded Orchid Realm.
The flowers are delicate and lovely, enticing people with their irresistible charm.
C <Marvel of the Orchids> 2 Lin
Who knows love at first sight? When the sea is in love, it swells. When the mountains is in love, it stands. When a flower blooms, one's love deepens.
D <The Orchid Prophecy> 1 Fairy 1
An ancient orchid legend says the king of
flowers left a prophetic poem.
The beautiful orchid is like a dream; flowers like butterflies are enchanting.
E <The Inner Voice of Lin> Lin
Beautiful orchid, I'll take care of you with all my heart. Beautiful orchid, I'll take care of you with all my heart. I can't bear to let you be hurt by the sun or the wind. I can't bear to let you be harmed by the rain or the frost. For the sake of this world, I want to preserve what was once there. For the sake of this age, I want to create a future that will always be there.
Act 2 - Orchid Obsession D <The Orchid Prophecy> 2 Fairy 1
Budding and growing into magnificent flowers,
the time has come for descendants to flourish.
Crossing the sea to the city,
we offer the world our slender beauty.
F <Yearning of the Orchid> Behind the scenes
Butterflies fly, butterflies fly, white orchids bloom in the deep mountains. Growing near the tree, never touching the ground, they disguise themselves as weed.
White orchid in a foreign land, its shriveled flowers swaying in the wind. My cultivation is in vain, but I hope I can revive it with all my heart.
Orchid Fairy 1
Butterflies fly, butterflies fly, white orchid yearning in a foreign land. White orchid yearning in a foreign land.
Orchid Fairy 2
White orchids being forced to marry, tears are frozen grudging the wind's matchmaking. Moon reflected in the water as floating clouds pass by, I'm thinking of you and sending you a letter of homesick.
Orchid Fairys 1 & 2
Hoping for spring's return as I also return with spring, my heart is torn with the longing to meet again. Butterflies fly, butterflies fly, white orchid yearning in a foreign land. White orchid yearning in a foreign land. White orchid yearning in a foreign land.
G <Sen and Lin Reminisce> Lin
I have skillfully altered the DNA, now its petals are white as cotton. Such beautiful color white like the snow, butterflies dance around the orchid flower.
Strange things are happening in the village. People from different places are coming to hunt for novelty. Their words are as sweet as honey, but it's all because the orchids are ready for picking.
Some are looking for novelty, some are looking for money. They are plucking flowers everywhere for profit. (Speaking) Someday! (Singing) The flowers will fade and regret will be too late.
H <Apprehension of the Orchids> 1 Fairy 1
Orchid Realm hides the secret of heaven, as orchids grow under the heavenly blessing.
Flowers bloom and exhale with aura, befitting their name as they live unrestrained and free.
But human desires brew greed, trees and plants can only mourn in suffering.
If we don't turn back and feel remorse, everything will be destroyed before too long.
Orchid Fairy 1
Everything will be destroyed before too long.
Orchid Fairys 1 & 2
Everything will be destroyed before too long.
Act 3 - Disappearance of the Legend I <Sen's Yearning> Sen
I have gazed at the moon in my hometown for a thousand nights, thinking about the orchids in my mind. Climbing up the rugged mountain path, I've worn out many pairs of shoes. I have no wings to fly, but orchids appear in my dream every night, every night. Oh I! I! I have a pen, but I cannot write. I just want to see you again, the spark in your eyes. I pray to return, to the place where you came from. Quietly and secretly, let me atone for my sins.
J <Temptation of the Orchid Merchant> Lin
I cherish it day and night, and let time stop for a moment, as I put the beauty away in the glass cabinet...
You should be called a national treasure!
You are so clever with your words, and you shouldn't hide your evil intentions. I have labored to protect the orchid, but how can you understand?
The flower you care has long been famous all over the world. Us two, we should work together. Beautiful flowers are invaluable and loved by everyone. I am helping you for the future. (Speaking) Oh! The flowering time is limited. There's no way for us to ...(singing) wait too long!
Back in the days, it drifted in the tides, riding the Kuroshio current across the seas. It attached itself and grew air roots, living on top of layers of tree bark. It was born with beauty, once free and unrestrained. Everything was going according to the heavenly way.
Wild purebreds are hard to come by. Purebreds are hard to come by. 11
L <Orchid Festival> 1 Cloned Orchids
Butterflies fly, butterflies fly, orchids reflect in the mirror. Butterflies fly, butterflies fly, color orchids in a splendor. Ten months bring a baby's cry, a lifetime of lament and sorrow. Men and women tie the knot. How the years gone by? A single flower in between. Butterfly orchids rely on each other!
H <Apprehension of the Orchids> 2 Orchid Fairy 1
Orchid Realm hides the secret of heaven, as orchids grow under the heavenly blessing. Flowers bloom and exhale with aura, waiting for that someone in a distant land.
The towering flowers fill the city, they are dyed with colors, losing their luster and soul. Forgetting their true roots, they will never be the king of flowers. Never be the king of flowers.
M <The Heart of Mana> Mana
I took them into the deep mountains and discovered wild flowers blooming. Following him, I crossed the stream, looking for the hope of prosperity. The moon has risen and fallen many times, and I've traveled places, tainted by dust. With all my heart, I work hard to write a new story of the future. But I've forgotten, I've forgotten, a page in my own heritage.
Act 4 - Children of Orchids N <One Person, One Story> Orchid Merchant
Flowers in my dream. The heart of the flower hides wealth and prosperity. Who in the world knows? Wealth is nothing but a dream.
Far away, where are you? I am with the orchids in Orchid Realm.
I've lost my soul and my color, obsessed with preserving the orchids.
I've taken the wrong path, not returning. Remember to always follow you heart, don't go against it. Remember to always follow you heart, don't go against it.
B <The Tale of Orchids> 4 Fairys 1 & 2
In the deep mountains of the island,
I'm wearing white and smelling a sweet scent.
Ancient tunes are carried by the wind, Mana the flowers bloom as I tread on the clouds. On the clouds. All
Like a butterfly fluttering away from home, sorrows and joys, parting and reunion are impermanence; into the world across the seas, the orchids continue to sing. The orchids continue to sing.
Finale - Carnival B <The Tale of Orchids> 5 Wild Orchids and
In the deep mountains of the island, I'm
wearing white and smelling a sweet scent. Ancient tunes are carried by the wind, and the flowers bloom as I tread on the clouds. On the clouds. Like a butterfly fluttering away from home, sorrows and joys, parting and reunion are impermanence. Into the world across the seas, the orchids continue to sing. The orchids continue to sing.
Production Team Producer / LIN Mun-Lee Script, Director and Stage Design / Miwa YANAGI Lyrics and Script for Taiwanese Opera / Yu-Hui WANG Performers / Shiu-Kim Taiwanese Opera Troupe, Chun-Mei Taiwanese Opera Troupe, Ming Hua Yuan Tian Zi Art &Culture Group Composer / Yi-Qian ZHOU
Aphrodite Producer / Yukio NITTA
Music Design / Yun-Song ZHU
Production Team / Kanako
Costume Design Coordinator / Ping-
YAMASAKI, Tsubasa SIMIZU
Production Stage Manager / Wei-
Costume Design / Zhao-Xiang WU,
Program Administrator / Joanne
Lighting Design / Takayuki
YANG, Yu-Pi CHEN
Stage Manager / Ting-Ting CHANG,
Projection Design / Tadashi MITANI
Choreography / Benson TSAI
Production Coordinator / We ART
Musician / Hsin-Han CHEN, Jen-
Yu KUO, Chyuan-Jhan WU, Pei-Sian
Projection Coordinator / Ethan
Projection Supervisor / Zhu and Yong Ltd. Sound Field Design & Audio Coordinator / To-Fu CHEN Audio Equipment / Fly Sound Enterprise Co. Technical Coordinator / Chih-Wei CHOU Stage Making / Chengxu Space Industrial Co., Ltd. Stage Structurer / ET Stage Sound Engineering Co., Ltd. Associate Lighting Design / Yung-Hung SUNG Assistant Lighting Design / Yi-Ju WU Lighting Equipment / WARSHIP Sound & Lighting Engineering Robot Production / Keitaro MASAOKA, Masaki NAKANO Robot Operator / Hideaki HASIBA Ensemble Coaching / Bessy LAN Cooperative School / Shu-Te University Department of Performing Arts Special Thanks / Kyoto University of the Arts ULTRA FACOTRY, Chishima Foundation for Creative Osaka, Kazushi OTA (Stage Manager), Tadonori KUROTOBI (Stage Manager Assistant), Wen-Shan LEE, Huey-Mei LEE, ChaoLiang SHEN, Yu-Pin LIN, Jer-Ming HU, Chi-Feng CHANG, Chin-Cheng CHEN, Chia-Ching TSOU, Hsin-Hsin TSAI, Hsiao-Mei HSIEH Photography / Hong-Chi HUANG Live-streaming / Taiwan Public Television Documentary / Chinese Television System Inc.
Date | 2021.12.25 Sat 19:30 GMT+9 Venue | Outdoor Theater, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying)
Advisor | Ministry of Culture Organizer | The Cultural Taiwan Foundation Co-organizer | Asia NOW Executive Committee
(represented by Culture Vision Japan Foundation Inc.)
Cooperation | National Culture and Arts Foundation, Weiwuying National Performing Arts Center, Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Kaohsiung City Government Length | Approximately 90 minutes; no intermission.
Language ｜ Taiwanese Hokkien
Special Performance ｜ Be An Extraordinary Ordinary Person by Shihhao YANG
17:00 Banyan Plaza; 19:00 Outdoor Theater
The organizer reserves the right to change the program.