Rendezvous on the Terrace

from the opera Butterfly Lovers

Ng Chin-Feng & Wan Fei-Yin

This is one of the most famous songs from this well-loved opera The Butterfly Lovers, based on a well-known story of two star-crossed lovers set in ancient times when women were not allowed to go to schools. However, with permission from her parents, Zhu Yingtai (祝英台) is admitted to a college disguised as a man. There she develops a deep relationship with her fellow student Liang Shanbo (梁山伯). For three years, Shanbo has no idea his room-mate is actually a woman, even though Yingtai has dropped many hints. As they each heads home after graduation, Shanbo learns Yingtai has a twin sister and promises to seek her hand within three months, as suggested by Yingtai. Unfortunately, due to his mother’s sickness he shows up at Yingtai’s home too late.

This aria describes the roller coaster scene as Shanbo eventually shows up at the Zhu Residence, and realizes wit great joy that Yingtai’s sister is actually Yingtai herself, but in the next moment he is devastated to learn that Yingtai has been betrothed to another man while awaiting his own delayed arrival. The beautiful musical arrangements and libretto evoke great pathos and many a tear from the audience.