272 Beijing Opera Performers - Di Lei - Number 41
Beijing Opera - "The Eight Sledgehammers"
Di Lei with a black broken-flower face plays a part in the list-opera "The Eight Sledgehammers." The list-opera takes its title from the weapons used by the four generals of the Song army, each of whom wielded a pair of sledgehammers. Di Lei was one of the four. The plot is based on an invasion of the General Plains, the heartland of the Song empire, by a Jurchen army under Wu Zhu and his adopted son Lu Wenlong. Yue Fei, the Song commander-in-chief, orders his four sledgehammer generals to fight Lu Wenlong, but the formidable Jurchen general defeats every one of them. Wang Zuo, a prince of the Song, finds out something about Lu Wenlong's past. He is actually the son of a famous Song general who committed suicide after losing a battle to the Jurchen. His son was captured by the Jurchen, and Wu Zhu, the Jurchen commander, became his adopted father. Wang Zuo now pretends to surrender to Wu Zhu, cutting off his left arm as a token of his sincerity. Once in the Jurchen camp, he poses as a storyteller and through his stories reveals to Lu Wenlong how his father has faithfully served and died for his country. During a subsequent raid by the Jurchen on the Song camp, Lu Wenlong defects and helps Yue Fei defeat the attackers. He then joins Yue Fei.Back to Beijing Performer's List - Page 1