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   During Emperor Kangxi and Qianlong's reign in Qing Dynasty, both the commodity economy and the society experienced a great upgrowth due to clean and just politics. The Kun Opera was in the fashion. However, the tune circle was chained in sentimental love stories between gifted scholars and beautiful ladies and legendary playwriting was rather dull. It was at this moment that "Hong in the south and Kong in the north" stood out and caught people's eyes just like two bright comets shooting over the sky. They are esteemed as the two monumental artistic models of the realistic legendary plays. "Hong in the south" here refers to Zhejiang playwright Hong Sheng and his magnum opus The Palace of Eternal Life.
    Hong Sheng (1645~1704), or Fangsi, was born in Qiantang (the present Hangzhou). This highborn playwright was actually dismissed from office and ended up in poverty. And all these were due to his magnum opus The Palace of Eternal Life. His works included 12 legendaries as The Palace of Eternal Life and The Palace of Eternal Life, and Za-Ju as The Four Lovely Women. The Palace of Eternal Life was produced out of his decades of hard work. It was about the ever-lasting love between Li Longji, an emperor, and Yang Yuhuan, his imperial concubine. Once came out, it was an instant success. At that time, there were hardly any performer who would not play this tune and the pay was even increased. The story combined love story with An Lushan's rebellion of the time, so its profound realistic moral was seen as a precaution for the later generations. In addition, with the nonesuch scenes being refined and precise, and with lyrics and tunes being unique and prominent, it could be heard playing in almost every household. Ever since its birth, it has been popular on the stage. Acts like Love Promise, Surprising Misfortune, Denouncing the Traitor, and The Ring of the Bell are repertoires for Kun Opera troupes north and south.
The Palace of Eternal Life
 
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