The Song of Everlasting Sorrow

The Song of Unending Sorrow at Huaqing Hot SpringThe beauty of the Huaqing Pool impresses visitors a lot in the daytime. At night, a large-scale real-scene historical drama named the Song of Everlasting Sorrow is presented there to better feast the visitor's eyes. The drama relates a moving romance between Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) and Yang Yuhuan, his favorite imperial concubine. More than a thousand years ago, it was at Huaqing Pool that their romantic story evolved.

Taking Mt. Lishan as the settings, the Song of Everlasting Sorrow is presented on the Nine Dragons Lake with the pavilions, corridors, palaces, willows and lake water in the background. The advanced sound and light technology and especially-designed stage succeeds in achieving the blend of history and realism, nature and culture, earthliness and fairyland making the presentation much more magnificent and genuine.

Originally, the Song of Everlasting Sorrow, also known as the Song of Unending Sorrow and Chang Hen Ge in Chinese pingyin, is a long narrative poem created by Bai Juyi (772 - 846), a famous realistic poet of the Tang Dynasty. Nowadays, the fascinating poem has been adapted to a historical drama with one prelude and ten scenes, telling the love story in four parts: Falling in Love, The Inseparable Couple, Farewell to Lover and Reunification in Fairyland.

Prelude: Showing the Beauty of Yang Yuhuan

On the Nine Dragons Lake floats a fully blossomed lotus on which Yang Yuhuan, wearing a beautiful silk shawl, is dancing nimbly. Her charming figure and fair looks appear shining against the dark background of trees, mountains and dark sky. Yang dances gently like a fairy lady, bringing back the old days of the Tang Dynasty.

Falling in Love

 Scene 1: Chosen to be an imperial concubine
The charming lady, Yang Yuhuan enters the imperial palace under Emperor Xuanzong’s decree. Her great beauty outshines other ladies in the palace. The emperor is greatly enraptured by her peerless beauty so that he bestows a priceless gilded box upon her as his love token. Then the ceremony of conferring the Imperial Concubine title is held. The whole palace is alived with the congratulations of the court ministers, the dances by imperial entertainers and brilliant songs by the imperial musicians.

 Scene 2: Whispering love to each other at midnight
On July 7th, night of the Chinese lunar calendar (the traditional Chinese Valentine's Day), there are countless twinkling stars and a hook-shaped moon. Emperor Xuanzong and his new imperial concubine gaze at the Milky Way, express faithful affections to each other and vow to love forever.

The Inseparable Couple

 Scene 3: Bathing in the Huaqing Pool
With a group of court maids at her side, Concubine Yang, in silk blouse, is served by these maids. She bathes in the hot springs with the limpid waters revealing her fair skin and full and fleshy figure, a style of beauty that was sought-after in Tang Dynasty.

 Scene 4: Rainbow Skirt and Feathered Coat Dance Interrupted by Tartar Dance
An Lushan (703 - 757), a court minister during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong, meets the emperor and the imperial concubine. To flatter the emperor, he introduces the popular Tartar dances. The dances, full of lively Tartar character, truly add great vitality to the imperial palace. As a result, the soothing and elegant Rainbow Skirt and Feathered Coat Dance is interrupted and the concubine and other dancers happily learn the Tartars dances. With great joy and interest, the emperor cannot help joining in.

 Scene 5: Getting drunk in the Jade Pavilion
After a luxury banquet in the Jade Pavilion, the imperial concubine is a little drunk. Her drunken figure resembles that of a willow dancing in the spring breeze. Gao Lishi, a famous eunuch in China’s feudal society, flatters the concubine with all sorts of superior services.

 Scene 6: Heavenly music carried by the winds
At the foot of Mt. Lishan, the theater of the imperial palace is filled with glorious lamps, beautiful curtains and charming dancers and singers. The concubine dances with the operatic dancers. The cheerful atmosphere attracts the emperor to dance with his favorite lady. They look at each other with deep affection to the music of love.

 Scene 7: Endless love and splendor surrounding the imperial concubine 
On the imperial concubine’s birthday, Emperor Xuanzong holds a lavish banquet at Long Live Palace. All the ministers come with very precious gifts and a large number of dancers show admirable performances. The whole imperial palace is filled with happiness and enjoyment. Then Yang Yuhuan performs a brilliant dance over the newly composed Rainbow Skirt Song. The emperor is deeply attracted by the graceful dance and song so that he embraces his lover to sing Night Joyful Singing.   

Farewell to Lover

Huaqing Hot Spring Performance
 Scene 8: Battle drums from Yuyang breaking the joy
An Lushan wages a rebellion and ends up the emperor’s cheers. The important military bases are occupied and the capital city is in danger. The flames of war burn the lotus curtain and the throne of Emperor Xuanzong. The love between the emperor and his favorite concubine is broken and so is the glorious development of the Tang Dynasty.

 Scene 9: Unwanted hairpins on the ground
Emperor Xuanzong hurriedly takes Yang Yuhuan to Maweipo. As the ministers and the guardians all think that Yang Guozhong, Yang Yuhuan’s brother, wages the rebellion, they insist on killing Yang Yuhuan to save the country. The emperor and his concubine feel helpless but have no choice. Yang was eventually hanged under the bleak moonlight. The sad songs linger in the valley for a long time.

Reunion in Fairyland

 Scene 10: Reunion in fairyland
On a windy, snowy day, Emperor Xuanzong returns to the Chang'an City (Xi'an). However, the sweet smiles and beautiful looks of Yang are lingering in his mind. In his dream, he goes to the Penglai Fairyland and meets with his sweetheart. They look at each other with eyes filled with tears and tell of their lovesickness. The fairy ladies in the fairyland dance the Nichang Feather Garment Dance created by the imperial concubine herself to celebrate the lovers' reunion. Numerous white pigeons fly in the sky conveying wishes “to be two lovebirds flying wing to wing in the sky, to be two trees with branches entwined from spring to spring on the ground”. 

Timetable & Ticket Price

Ticket Fee Eastern and western areas: CNY 238/268/298;
Central area: CNY 338/358/368/388;
VIP Area: CNY588
Free for children under 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) not occupying a seat.
Show Time Sep. - Oct. & Mar. - May: 19:10-20:20; 20:40-21:50; 22:10-23:20
Jun. - Aug.: 20:10-21:20; 21:40-22:50; 23:10-00:20
During public holidays and summer holidays, there may be one more show starting at 23:40.
Note: The performance might be canceled due to extreme weather. Please refer to the latest notice inside the scenic area.

- Last updated on Sep. 26, 2023 by Catherine He -
Questions & Answers on The Song of Everlasting Sorrow
Asked by Reg Morgan from AUSTRALIA | Aug. 06, 2019 03:37Reply
How do we buy ticket of Xi'an The Song of Everlasting Sorrow?
We want to book for night program on the 16th August - the song of the Everlasting Sorrow.
Answers (2)
Answered by Andrea from USA | Aug. 08, 2019 20:53

Well, you can buy the ticket on the spot.
Answered by Cala from VIETNAM | Sep. 19, 2019 23:33

Could you help us to book the ticket in advance for the night program on 19 Oct?
Asked by Rory Klick from USA | Nov. 10, 2017 02:10Reply
Is the Song of Unending Sorrows show still running in November?
Answers (2)
Answered by Mike from DENMARK | Nov. 12, 2017 18:42

Yes, it’s still available, and I’ve seen it several days before, it’s amazing! Enjoy your time!
Answered by Alex Yu from CHINA | Jun. 21, 2018 22:42

The show is not available after 1st Nov as it’s getting cold.And the last show will be hold at 31st Oct each year.
Asked by YC from MALAYSIA | Apr. 05, 2016 20:06Reply
What are options for public transport back to Xi'an after the "The Song of Unending Sorrow"
at Huaqing Hot Springs? What time is the latest transport?
Answers (1)
Answered by Joe from USA | Apr. 08, 2016 00:40

I am afraid that no public transportation is available after the show ends. So, you may take a taxi back to downtown area. The fare may be CNY 100 to 150 at night. Maybe you can negotiate a price with the driver. :)
Asked by Clara | Jan. 13, 2016 15:43Reply
Ticket for "The Song of Unending Sorrow"
Do I need to buy the ticket in advance for the performance? If so, where can I book the ticket?
Answers (1)
Answered by Leo from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 14, 2016 00:50

You can book the tickets on the official website of Huaqing Hot Springs. But it doesn't have English version. Maybe you can ask help for the hotel staff. They can book the tickets for you.
If not, it's also ok for you to buy the tickets when you arriving there. Generally speaking, there will have enough tickets in usual time.
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