The Song of Everlasting Sorrow

Article by Poonam Harry-Nana

CIf you are a lover of music, dance, art, culture and theatre of epic proportions, then you absolutely have to see “A Song of Everlasting Sorrow”, rated as one of the best shows in China. Set at the foot of Mount Li in Lintong District at the Huaqing Palace, better known as the Huaqing Pools, it is a mere 30km away from the city centre of Xi’an.

By means of mountain and river scenes, classic music and dance, narrative poem, high-tech lighting, acoustics and special effects, “A Song of Everlasting Sorrow” reenacts the magnificent era of the Tang Dynasty. Based on the touching story of an emperor and his concubine, the show allows the audience to travel back in time to appreciate the love that happened at the foot of Lishan Mountain and the bank of Huaqing Pool 1000 years ago, and experience the culture of the flourishing Tang Dynasty.

What is the show about?

The performance is based on the true-life love story between Xuan Zong, the Emperor of the Tang Dynasty, and Yang Yuhuan, his favorite concubine. The Emperor fell in love with the stunningly beautiful Lady Yang and took her into the palace as his concubine. Yang was not only beautiful, but also very talented in music and dancing. The Emperor loved her so much that he even built her a crab apple pool where she could take a bath, a scene that has become one of the most spectacular in the show. Their love and passion for each other created music and dance within the palace, all captured in this magnificent performance.


What’s special about this show?

“A Song of Everlasting Sorrow” has won several top accolades and awards and has been crowned as one of China’s must-see performances. It is the first show in China to:

• be staged against the backdrop of real mountains, lakes and an ancient architectural complex instead of a theatre
• revive a complete historical love story at the very scene of its occurrence
• utilize a lifting stage through water, Vegas-style pyrotechnics, and the largest foldable LED screen in Asia

Since its first official public performance in 2007, it has been performed over 1500 times and attracted more than 2 million visitors. It has the involvement of 300+ professional artists and features costumes and props that are a feast for the eyes, music to move and touch the soul and the most magnificent setting. The show itself is a tour-de-force that literally leaves the audience gasping, and was moving beyond anything I have ever experienced in all my travels throughout the world.

Poonam’s Tips:

• Plan to go as close to a full moon night as possible so that you might witness this spectacle under an open, star-studded sky. The full moon adds an extra bit of magnificence to this already amazing experience.
• Make a night of it and stay at one of the many beautiful Hot Spring Hotels and resorts within the Lintong area.
• Make sure you take a pair of binoculars with you or buy one from the many street vendors for a mere 5RMB prior to the performance.
• Make sure your camera or phone is fully charged and set for night mode to capture the beauty that awaits.
• Be aware that taxi drivers in Lintong don’t seem to use meters to charge you – negotiate a price first before starting your journey.

Poonam is a South African who’s already fallen in love with her new home in Xi’an