183 Beijing Operas - Xu Yanzhao - Number 182
Beijing Opera - "Second Entry into the Palace"
Xu Yanzhao with a red six tenths face, plays one of the central characters in the opera "Second Entry into the Palace," a traditional opera based on a drum ballad. When Ming emperor Muzong (r. 1567-1572) died, the crown prince was still an infant and Li Yanfei, the empress dowager, ruled behind the scenes. The dowager's father, Li Liang, plotting to usurp the throne, seals off the courtyard where his daughter is living do that she can get no news from the outside. But two loyal ministers, Xu Yanzhao and Yang Bo, force their way into the palace twice to warn the empress of the situation. After their second attempt the empress realizes that she has been deceived by her father. Moved by their loyalty, she entrusts to them the management of state affairs and commends her infant son to their care. Later Li Liang is executed by Yang Bo.
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