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The Orphan of Zhao (MP3s)

  • 79943

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  • The Magnetic Fields' 50 Song Memoir, chronicling the 50 years of songwriter Stephin Merritt's life with one song per year, is due March 10, 2017, on Nonesuch. Merritt sings vocals on all 50 songs and plays more than 100 instruments, from ukulele to piano to drum machine to abacus. Unlike his previous work, the lyrics are nonfiction—a mix of autobiography (bedbugs, Buddhism, buggery) and documentary (hippies, Hollywood, hyperacusis). Available in five-LP and five-CD editions including an extensive interview by Daniel Handler and facsimile handwritten lyrics by Merritt, and as a standalone bound book with a full-album download card. Pre-order to download one song from each decade now. For a limited time, Nonesuch Store pre-orders also come with an exclusive autographed print.

  • The Magnetic Fields announce their 2016–2017 US tour schedule. They will be performing across the country in support of their forthcoming multi-disc album, 50 Song Memoir, due spring 2017 on Nonesuch. The concerts will premiere at Mass MoCA in November 2016, then head to Brooklyn Academy of Music in December, followed by stops in Philadelphia, DC, Durham, Knoxville, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Oakland, Portland, and Seattle in the spring of 2017 (Boston performances are still to be announced).

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  • About This Album

    The evil Tu An-Gu and the kindly Zhao Shuo were rival courtiers in the kingdom of Jin. Tu tried to have Zhao killed, but the assassin he hired committed suicide rather than choose between disobeying orders and killing an honest man. With the help of the serf Ling Zhe, who he had saved from starvation, Zhao fled into exile. His son Zhao Dun received a letter demanding his suicide, forged by Tu-An Gu in the name of the Emperor; he stabbed himself. His wife, the Emperor’s daughter, gave birth to a son. Ten days later, the play begins…

    The princess calls for the family doctor, Cheng Ying, to take the newborn out of the house before Tu An-Gu kills him too. Cheng agrees, convincing her to strangle herself (while singing “In This Rain …”) to avoid revealing the baby’s whereabouts under torture. At the gate, Cheng Ying meets General Han Jue, who has been assigned by Tu An-Gu to guard the baby (“Has the World Gone Insane?”). The general takes one look at the orphan (“Han Jue Sings a Lullaby”) and agrees to stab himself rather than imperil an innocent infant. Cheng Ying celebrates the honorable death (“All of This I Give You”). In the winter garden at Tai Ping, the good doctor finds retired sage Gongsun Chu-Jiu, and shows him the baby (“Gongsun Sings a Lullaby”). Gongsun offers to swap the Orphan with Cheng Ying’s own ten-day-old son, to bring to Tu-An Gu, who will surely kill both Gongsun and the baby. Gongsun recites a poem of nostalgia, “Little Clouds Go By.” Cheng Ying reports to Tu An-Gu that Gongsun is hiding the Orphan, and Tu kills the tiny imposter, Cheng’s son, whereupon Gongsun impales himself on the murderer’s sword, singing “In the Spring, When I Was Young.” In gratitude, Tu An-Gu offers to adopt Cheng Ying’s son (really the Orphan), chortling, “What a Fucking Lovely Day!”

    Twenty years later, Cheng Ying reveals to the Orphan all of the above, calling Tu-An Gu “the man in red,” Zhao Shuo “the man in purple,” and Cheng Ying himself “Someone.” He eulogizes the assassin in “The Song of the Assassin,” and Ling Zhe in “The Song of the Humble Serf.” He tells of Zhao Shuo’s flight into exile in “The Man in Purple Dashed Out of the Castle,” and details everything we’ve seen on stage in  “The Story So Far,” finally telling the Orphan of his true identity. The Orphan swears to avenge his clan (“The World Is Not Made of Flowers”). He kills Tu-An Gu, and the play ends.

    The original Orphan of Zhao was written by Yuan Dynasty playwright Ji Juanxiang, circa 1330. This production was originally produced by the Lincoln Center Festival and Lincoln Center Theater, New York City. World-premiered at Lincoln Center Festival, July 2003. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, book by David Greenspan, music and lyrics by Stephin Merritt.

    Credits

    CAST
    Jenny Bacon: Princess, Cheng Bo (Orphan)
    Rob Campbell: Cheng Ying
    David Patrick Kelly: Tu An-Gu
    William Yeomans: Han Jue, Gongsun Chu-Jiu

    MUSICIANS
    Cory McAbee: Autoharp
    Wei Guo Yong: Jinghu
    Min Xiao-Fen: Pipa

    Musical Director: Kimberly Grigsby

nonesuch's picture
on May 29, 2008 - 7:14pm
Artist Name: 
Stephin Merritt
Release Date: 
Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 05:00
DescriptionExcerpt: 

The original Orphan of Zhao was written by Yuan Dynasty playwright Ji Juanxiang, circa 1330. This production, featuring music and lyrics by Stephin Merritt described by the New York Times as "country and eastern," premiered at the Lincoln Center Festival in July 2003, directed by Chen Shi-Zheng with book by David Greenspan.

Description: 

The evil Tu An-Gu and the kindly Zhao Shuo were rival courtiers in the kingdom of Jin. Tu tried to have Zhao killed, but the assassin he hired committed suicide rather than choose between disobeying orders and killing an honest man. With the help of the serf Ling Zhe, who he had saved from starvation, Zhao fled into exile. His son Zhao Dun received a letter demanding his suicide, forged by Tu-An Gu in the name of the Emperor; he stabbed himself. His wife, the Emperor’s daughter, gave birth to a son. Ten days later, the play begins…

The princess calls for the family doctor, Cheng Ying, to take the newborn out of the house before Tu An-Gu kills him too. Cheng agrees, convincing her to strangle herself (while singing “In This Rain …”) to avoid revealing the baby’s whereabouts under torture. At the gate, Cheng Ying meets General Han Jue, who has been assigned by Tu An-Gu to guard the baby (“Has the World Gone Insane?”). The general takes one look at the orphan (“Han Jue Sings a Lullaby”) and agrees to stab himself rather than imperil an innocent infant. Cheng Ying celebrates the honorable death (“All of This I Give You”). In the winter garden at Tai Ping, the good doctor finds retired sage Gongsun Chu-Jiu, and shows him the baby (“Gongsun Sings a Lullaby”). Gongsun offers to swap the Orphan with Cheng Ying’s own ten-day-old son, to bring to Tu-An Gu, who will surely kill both Gongsun and the baby. Gongsun recites a poem of nostalgia, “Little Clouds Go By.” Cheng Ying reports to Tu An-Gu that Gongsun is hiding the Orphan, and Tu kills the tiny imposter, Cheng’s son, whereupon Gongsun impales himself on the murderer’s sword, singing “In the Spring, When I Was Young.” In gratitude, Tu An-Gu offers to adopt Cheng Ying’s son (really the Orphan), chortling, “What a Fucking Lovely Day!”

Twenty years later, Cheng Ying reveals to the Orphan all of the above, calling Tu-An Gu “the man in red,” Zhao Shuo “the man in purple,” and Cheng Ying himself “Someone.” He eulogizes the assassin in “The Song of the Assassin,” and Ling Zhe in “The Song of the Humble Serf.” He tells of Zhao Shuo’s flight into exile in “The Man in Purple Dashed Out of the Castle,” and details everything we’ve seen on stage in  “The Story So Far,” finally telling the Orphan of his true identity. The Orphan swears to avenge his clan (“The World Is Not Made of Flowers”). He kills Tu-An Gu, and the play ends.

The original Orphan of Zhao was written by Yuan Dynasty playwright Ji Juanxiang, circa 1330. This production was originally produced by the Lincoln Center Festival and Lincoln Center Theater, New York City. World-premiered at Lincoln Center Festival, July 2003. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, book by David Greenspan, music and lyrics by Stephin Merritt.

ProductionCredits: 

CAST
Jenny Bacon: Princess, Cheng Bo (Orphan)
Rob Campbell: Cheng Ying
David Patrick Kelly: Tu An-Gu
William Yeomans: Han Jue, Gongsun Chu-Jiu

MUSICIANS
Cory McAbee: Autoharp
Wei Guo Yong: Jinghu
Min Xiao-Fen: Pipa

Musical Director: Kimberly Grigsby

Cover Art: 
Nonesuch Selection Number: 

79943

Number of Discs in Set: 
1disc
ns_album_artistid: 
226
ns_album_id: 
611
ns_album_releasedate: 
Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 05:00
ns_genre_1: 
0
ns_genre_2: 
0
Album Status: 
UPC/Price: 
Label: 
MP3
UPC: 
075597994360
Price: 
12.00
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