Ya-ju Chang, MA, Department of Chinese Literature, National Chengchi University
April Rain is a large-scale, original musical about Deng Yuxian (1906-1944), a famous popular musician in the 1930s. The entire work contain 28 songs, among them four of Deng’s most famous works – “Four Seasons,” “Full Moon’s Worry,” “Spring Breeze,” and “Flowers in the Rain” – which continue to enjoy great popularity today.
Deng lived in a time of oppression and conflict. He came from a family of scholars but fell in love with music and travelled to Japan for study. He married Zhong Youmei after returning to Taiwan. The couple resided in Taichung, where Deng worked as an interpreter at the district court. Deng often spent his free time in the fashionable Bolero coffee shop in Dadaocheng (now Taipei’s Datong District) discussing music with his friends, Chen Junyu, Columbia Records Director of Arts, and Sun-sun, a popular Taiwanese singer.
The backdrop for the musical is Dadaocheng, Taipei’s most prosperous neighborhood during the Japanese colonial period, and a gathering place for artists and intellectuals. Musicians and other leading figures of the time found inspiration there; among them were luminaries such as the writer Lai he and democracy activists Chiang Wei-shui and Lin Xiantang. The Danshui River in western Dadaocheng was an artery for trading vessels carrying medicinal herbs, fabrics, and tea. Today, this area is home to the famed Lunar New Year holiday market on Dihua Street. The musical is an excellent reminder of the area’s former wealth and opulence.
April Rain premiered on June 15, 2007 and played in venues all over Taiwan. The songs – the innocence of “Four Seasons,” the melancholy of Full Moon’s Worry,” the bashfulness of “Spring Breeze,” and the tenderness of “Flowers in the Rain” – all showcase Deng’s unparalleled musical talent. The production starred Hong Ruixiang as Deng Yuxian and Jiang Yiru as Sun-sun. Yan Shiping directed the production; artistic director was Yang Zhongheng and musical director was Ran Tianhao. All Music Theater recently released the April Rain DVD.
|Related Literary Themes：||Taiwan Literature under Japanese Colonial Rule|