General Note / OCR
Qin Xianglian - Shou Tang [The Story of Qin Xianglian - At The Longevity Hall (for celebrating birthdays). Ping Tan music in Suzhou dialect. Adapted by Chen Lingxi; sung by Zhu Huizhen and Zhang Jianting; accompanied by Shanghai People's Ping Tan Troupe. The records contain two episodes: Pipa Chang Qu [Pipa Plucking and Singing] and Wang Yanling Qin Quan Shimei [Wang Yanling Persuading Shimei]. Plot: Qin Xianglian's husband Chen Shimei went to the capital to participate in the imperial examination and won the title of First Scholar. He consequently was chosen by the emperor and became his son-in-law. At this time, Chen's home area was experiencing a severe drought, which had lasted for three years. Losing her livelihood, Qin Xianglian leads her father-in-law and two children on a long journey, begging along the way, to find her husband. Travelworn, her father-in-law dies along the way. The three survivors finally reach the capital and find Chen Shimei, Qin Xianglian's husband. Unexpectedly, he refuses to recognize them and drives them from the palace. Qin accidentally sees Prime Minister Wang Yanling passing by in his sedan. She stops his sedan and petitions Wang for help. He tells her to disguise herself as a professional singer from the country and appear at Chen's birthday party. She then can try to win back Chen's heart by singing, so that Chen would accept her and her children. At the Longevity Hall, Qin plays pipa and sings of her ordeal. Chen is unmoved. Outraged, Prime Minister Wang orders Qin to sue Chen before the imperial supreme judge Bao in Kaifeng. At the same time, Chen orders his bodyguard, Han Qi, to kill Qin and her children, in order to forestall future trouble. Han's conscience will not allow him to commit such a horrendous crime. He lets them go and, not knowing how to explain his actions to his master, commits suicide. Qin's plaint finally reaches Supreme Judge Bao. He hoaxes Qin to his place to confront him with his accuser, Qin. Counting on his status as the emperor's son-in-law, Chen still refuses to recognize his Qin and his children. Indignantly, Bao orders Chen's execution, despite pleas from the Empress Dowager and his princess wife.