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Thread: Beijing Opera

  1. #16

  2. #17
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    there is one opera, I saw part of it many years ago, there is a scene that is supposed to be in total darkness-portrayed as such, where there is one guy with double broadswords, and the other is hiding on a table. The fight scene is amazing, yet comical at the same time. You can see where Jacky Chan got his choreography from. If you know the name, please post in chinese as well, so I can find a copy in Chinatown.

  3. #18
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3NXb...elated&search=

    some type of qi gong?

    with 10 lb of sand bags on the wrists.

    --


  4. #19

  5. #20
    the bro is paying attention and doing it right.

    the sis is kind of having it easy or goofing off.


  6. #21
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    Beijing Opera in the NYT

    We ran an article on Beijing Opera and its connection to modern wushu. See A Day at the Beijing Opera: An Analysis of the Wushu and Acrobatic Skills of Beijing Opera By Emilio Alpanseque in our 2009 May/June issue.



    Beijing Opera, a Historical Treasure in Fragile Condition
    Elisa Haberer for the International Herald Tribune
    By RICHARD BERNSTEIN
    Published: August 29, 2010

    BEIJING — “Watch out for that sword,” the rehearsal director shouted.

    “I don’t want anybody’s head getting cut off because you don’t know what you’re doing.”

    Lots of weapons were on stage at the Beijing Opera Academy of China here the other day. Teenage future opera stars were armed with lances, spears, swords and daggers as they carried out an elaborately choreographed, intricate, stylized and acrobatic fight scene, all to the clash of cymbals, drums, wooden clappers and a substantial orchestra of Chinese string and woodwind instruments.

    Here and there in this ever more steel and glass city where old neighborhoods disappear from one month to the next, there is a glimpse of what the previous city was like — quiet, tree-shaded streets with small storefronts and bicycles, a locust tree leaning over a wall that hides an old courtyard house.

    This modest and slightly shabby theater in the academy exists in a neighborhood in the southwest part of the city that has not been entirely torn down and rebuilt yet. The academy occupies the former site of the Beijing Dance Academy and does not seem to have been physically upgraded or modernized. It still has dingy corridors, ancient washrooms, rusting bunk beds (six to a room), a single fluorescent bulb hanging from the ceiling and an ancient radiator in front of the window.

    And, of course, nothing could more suggest old Beijing than Beijing opera, with its masks, its stylized movements, its atonal, strangely modern arias, its fantastically intricate scenes of battle, and, probably most important, its audience of connoisseurs who know when to shout a throaty “hao!” — good! — after an especially well-executed movement or song.

    The worry though is that, like the city’s old neighborhoods, Beijing opera could fall victim to China’s rampant commercialism and modernization. If it did, it would be a bit like Italy consigning Verdi or Donizetti to a few small halls in Milan and Rome, or to those folkloric shows for tourists who mostly do not know much about what they are seeing.

    “Objectively speaking, right now there are some difficulties,” said Qiao Cuirong, a senior professor at the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts, summing up the current state of Beijing opera. “People are interested in money and modernity and Western things, so our own culture has lost something.”

    It would be premature to say that Beijing opera has turned into an antique relic, but clearly it is not what it was in the late 18th to early 20th century, when it was northern China’s most popular theatrical entertainment. The big national spectacles of recent years have included the 2008 Olympic opening ceremony, which, while drawing on China’s rich tradition, did not echo the traditional opera. There was also the lavish production of Puccini’s “Turandot,” directed by the celebrated filmmaker Zhang Yimou. That production was a Western import that was once banned in this country because it was deemed insulting to China.

    Beijing opera certainly was not helped by the fact that during the turmoil of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, the form was deemed feudalistic and reactionary. But then again so was just about every other art form, including Western music and modern dance, both of which have since made vigorous recoveries.

    But Beijing opera faces particular difficulties, aside from the aging and fading away of a knowledgeable audience.

    “The more you know about Beijing opera, the more you love it,” said Liu Hua, a former performer and now a teacher at the school. “The problem is that it takes a lot to know it, and fewer and fewer people have the time or the inclination.”

    Also, Beijing opera is an especially demanding form, both to perform and to witness.

    “It takes a very long time to study, at least 8 to 10 years just to get in the door as a performer,” Ms. Qiao said. “And the whole thing is very slow. It’s not like a movie, and right now people want things to be fast. That’s why we’re losing the young crowd.”

    Still, there seems, perhaps paradoxically, to be no shortage of students, as all those highly talented and professional-looking teenagers on the school stage the other day indicated. Young people start their training at age 11, going to one of the several Beijing opera academies around the country aimed at producing professional performers.

    “Children really like it,” Ms. Qiao said. “Another reason is that some parents love it, and they want their children to learn it, even if they’re not thinking about having them become professionals.”

    The early training lasts for six demanding, rigorous years. Given that Beijing opera is fading in popularity, especially among the younger generations, it seems strange that so many young people would want to go through it.

    “It’s such good training that the students can go in almost any direction even if they don’t end up in the opera,” Ms. Liu said.

    “A lot of our students end up on television or in the movies,” she added. “There are a lot of martial arts movies, and our students are all good at martial arts. Some of them become popular singers or actors. They’re not worried about their future.”

    The Chinese Ministry of Culture, anxious about the form’s survival, lavishly subsidizes it, renovating theaters, commissioning new works, paying substantial salaries to the bearers of the tradition, like Ms. Qiao.

    This year, for the first time ever, the state-run Chinese Central Television has been holding a national Beijing opera student competition, with the finals to be televised in October. During the preliminaries in Beijing recently, 24 contestants, each with a supporting cast of extremely acrobatic soldiers and others, took the stage in an awesome display of skill and talent.

    The emphasis was on what a nonconnoisseur might think of as the best parts — the battle and martial arts scenes, with performers in astonishing costumes leaping and somersaulting in midair, twirling, jabbing, tossing and juggling an arsenal of weapons and batons, singing at the same time.

    And there was the knowledgeable audience — theater entry was free, which is perhaps itself a sign of the form’s fragile standing with the public — shouting approval and applauding enthusiastically. “We teachers are doing our job, and the government’s Culture Ministry is supporting us,” Ms. Qiao said. “Everybody’s doing their best to keep this as a cultural treasure, whether people go to see it or not.”
    Gene Ching
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  7. #22

    Peking Opera San Cha Kou

    Greetings,

    I saw Peking Opera for the first time on Good Morning America many years ago. San Cha Kou was performed:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NH8w3kGaoc

    Enjoy,

    mickey

    PS: Has anyone seen this performed by the Moiseyev Dancers? I have been looking for that one for years.
    Last edited by mickey; 10-12-2010 at 08:36 AM.

  8. #23
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    If you truly want a deep understanding of Kung Fu....

    ...you must examine Chinese Opera. Chinese Opera is a cornerstone of Kung Fu.

    Beijing's Pride
    A Peking Opera master brings purity to an enthusiastic New York crowd
    By Corrie Dosh | NO. 39 SEPTEMBER 24, 2015


    Zhang Huoding (left) performs Legend of the White Snake at Lincoln Center in New York City on September 1 (XINHUA)

    New Yorkers got a taste of real Peking Opera with a brief yet wondrous visit by Zhang Huoding on September 2 featuring rare performances of Legend of the White Snake and The Jewelry Purse --marking Zhang's first performances outside China.

    The performances are the fourth event staged at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater by the China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG), following performances of The Peony Pavilion ,Silk Road , The Red Dress and The Legend of Mulan . CAEG is under the administration of China's Ministry of Culture and is seen as a sort of cultural outreach to promote Chinese art.

    Star performer

    The diminutive, unassuming Zhang is celebrated for her mastery of Cheng school opera. The school is named for its founder Cheng Yanqiu (1904-58)--a famous male opera star popular for playing female dan roles in the 1920s and 1930s--and Zhang's challenge is to be a female singer singing as a male playing a woman. The trick of the Cheng style is to adopt a low-pitched, subtle tone.

    Zhang's fans love her for more than her dulcet tones and graceful, precise movements. She has dedicated her life to Peking Opera with a singular passion. Denied entry to a regional training academy multiple times, Zhang began studying at the late age of 15 at a school in Tianjin. She made up for lost time with a dedication that bordered on obsession, practicing endlessly and catching the eye of Zhao Rongchen (1916-96)--Peking Opera's foremost star practicing the Cheng School.

    As she mastered the art, Zhang thrilled the world of traditional opera with a special Peking Opera show she created at the Beijing People's Art Theater. Now a teacher and seasoned performer, Zhang's Lincoln Center performance featured many of her own students at the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts.

    The debut of a hometown treasure like Zhang on an American stage is a gesture of cultural goodwill ahead of a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping this month. State officials want to show off the best in traditional Chinese arts and culture, and performances like Zhang's cap a particularly China-centric year in New York culture, including the well-received China: Through the Looking Glass theme at the Met Gala earlier this year.

    The state visit offers a chance to start a new era of Chinese-American relations, and a chance to redefine the relationship as cooperative and mutually beneficial. Cui Tiankai, Chinese Ambassador to the United States, said the two presidents would take the opportunity to conduct in-depth exchanges on major issues concerning global peace and development. U.S. President Barack Obama, apparently feeling liberalized in his last two years as president, seems open to publicly taking positions and taking action on politically sensitive topics. There is a very good chance that the talks could be a positive turning point for both sides.

    "China and the United States should manage issues of difference through communication, sincerely respect and take care of each other's core interests, and make efforts to expand common ground while reducing differences to maintain the big picture of stable development of the bilateral relationship," President Xi said while meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice ahead of his state visit to the United States.

    Real deal

    Like most forms of Chinese culture that Americans are exposed to--including food, calligraphy and kungfu--Peking Opera is often altered to appeal to a Western audience. While there have been some attempts to preserve the form in its historical state, such as director Chen Shizheng's 18-hour staging of the original The Peony Pavilion at the 1999 Lincoln Center Festival, most classic works of Peking Opera are shortened to 90 minutes, subtitles added, martial arts scenes ramped up and props added.

    Just the filming of performances represents a break with traditional Peking Opera, said David Rolston, a professor with the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. The art form should be viewed on the stage. It's a stipulation that some of his students have trouble understanding.

    As opera troupes become privatized and come under pressure to increase ticket sales, the lure of a Western tour has become attractive along with the prospect of new audiences, Rolston added. Lincoln Center is "a big deal" to opera troupes, and there is a bit of a revival in the genre going on--evidenced by Zhang's performance and the 2014 Lincoln Center Festival performance celebrating China's greatest opera star Mei Lanfang (1894-1961). These two performances in particular were dedicated to keeping traditional opera styling true to history, and to preserving the art form while introducing it to Western audiences.

    Zhang's selections of Legend of the White Snake and The Jewelry Purse are sensible picks, Rolston said, as they are both classic stories and local favorites. Legend tells an ancient myth of a white snake in Hangzhou who takes a human husband and irks a Buddhist monk. The tale has been told many times in modern culture, including a 2011 film starring Jet Li, numerous television series and even children's books.

    The Jewelry Purse follows the tale of wealthy Xue Xiangling on the way to her wedding, who selflessly gives some of her dowry to a poor bride she meets. Years later, when Xue finds herself desperate and penniless, she fortuitously meets the woman she helped in the past, who is now a wealthy woman in her own right.

    Both productions are lush. No expense was spared in the making of the heavily embroidered gowns, glittering headdresses and flowing fabrics. The music is superb, orchestrated by a small and skilled group of musicians. In keeping with tradition, the stage is bare and the story is told through pantomime and storytelling.

    Two lectures on Zhang's work and the history of Peking Opera were held at Lincoln Center ahead of the performances. Professor David Der-wei of Harvard University and Professor Rolston encouraged the American audience to applaud during the performance highlights.

    The largely Chinese audience knew every word and every movement of their idol's performance, which played more as a nostalgic tribute for homesick Chinese expats than as an introduction to the art form. The crowd rushed the stage to take pictures of the curtain calls, demanding an encore until Zhang obliged. Her performance was perfection, the material thoughtfully prepared, but the audience was familiar.

    Zhang kept her word and stayed true to her beloved art form. Purists would demand nothing less. Perhaps it is Western listeners who need to rise to the occasion and appreciate the subtle refineries of Peking Opera. James R. Oestreich, a reviewer for The New York Times , asked, "Where's a good sword fight or acrobatic brawl when you need one?"

    Appreciation for true Peking Opera is small but growing in America. Certainly performances by such masters as Zhang will help in spreading the popularity of the art form, but true aficionados are rare. Reviewers for mainstream U.S. papers readily admitted their unfamiliarity with the works but called Zhang's performance a "nice introduction."

    The author is deputy director of the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

    Comments to yanwei@bjreview.com
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  9. #24
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    Hi Guys

    What kinde of Kung Fu Systems did the Chinese Opera have besides Wing Chun did they have any long fist northern styles ? What about Emei Kung Fu was any of them in the Chinese Opera ? There is a Sifu who taught Bruce Lee some Opera Kung Fu named Yeung Fook he was in one of the Chinese Opera s years ago and learned alot of Opera Kung Fu Systems hes probaly close to 100 years old know if he s still alive I will see if i cant find some of the names of the systems he new .

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firehawk4 View Post
    What kinde of Kung Fu Systems did the Chinese Opera have besides Wing Chun did they have any long fist northern styles ? What about Emei Kung Fu was any of them in the Chinese Opera ? There is a Sifu who taught Bruce Lee some Opera Kung Fu named Yeung Fook he was in one of the Chinese Opera s years ago and learned alot of Opera Kung Fu Systems hes probaly close to 100 years old know if he s still alive I will see if i cant find some of the names of the systems he new .
    You'd be hard pressed to see any straight up wing chun in beijing opera.
    It (chinese opera) contains a synthesis of styles actually. Over time, teachers and story tellers and the nature of the classics themselves are wrapped up into the art form.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenTigers View Post
    there is one opera, I saw part of it many years ago, there is a scene that is supposed to be in total darkness-portrayed as such, where there is one guy with double broadswords, and the other is hiding on a table. The fight scene is amazing, yet comical at the same time. You can see where Jacky Chan got his choreography from. If you know the name, please post in chinese as well, so I can find a copy in Chinatown.
    I'm pretty sure you're talking about 'The Crossroads' (三岔口). You can find lots of clips of it on the net: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NH8w3kGaoc

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firehawk4 View Post
    What kinde of Kung Fu Systems did the Chinese Opera have besides Wing Chun did they have any long fist northern styles ? What about Emei Kung Fu was any of them in the Chinese Opera ? There is a Sifu who taught Bruce Lee some Opera Kung Fu named Yeung Fook he was in one of the Chinese Opera s years ago and learned alot of Opera Kung Fu Systems hes probaly close to 100 years old know if he s still alive I will see if i cant find some of the names of the systems he new .
    WingChun was not so much on display with the Cantonese Opera and Red Boats, The Hung Mun styles of CLFand Hung Gar were dominate but acrobatic WuShu was used by competing troupes for spectacle to wow the audience. After Red Turban Revolt Red Boat Cantonese Opera was banned by the Qing Government. Those performers and families that did not run for the hills were hunted down and executed by the thousands for many years. The Northern Beijing Opera and performers were never banned and continued ongoing. The Opera Guild was moved to Beijing from Guangdong Province because of the Hung mun support in the revolt.
    Last edited by PalmStriker; 09-24-2015 at 08:36 PM.

  13. #28
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    Opera masks and...spiders?

    This is a fascinating read.

    JANUARY 25, 2020
    What do Chinese opera masks and spiders have in common? A lot, as it turns out.
    by Michael Miller, University of Cincinnati


    Chinese opera masks or Jing masks feature unique colors and patterns that give the audience clues about a character's motives, character or virtue. Credit: Photo/Wikimedia Commons

    To better understand how animals like spiders communicate with pattern and color, a University of Cincinnati biology student is turning to ancient dramatic art.

    Biology doctoral student Jenny Yi-Ti Sung is studying how Beijing operas that date back thousands of years convey details about motivation and character to their audiences through the performers' colorful masks.

    Like many jumping spiders, Chinese opera masks, or Jing masks, have unique patterns and colors that convey information to their intended audience. For spiders, the unique characteristics broadcast species, sex or even romantic intentions to possible mates. In Chinese opera, the masks help the audience instantly recognize heroes, villains, allies, foes and other supporting characters amid the frenetic action on stage.

    "I'm interested in understanding how male spiders might use their patterns and colors to tell a female spider they're the same species and are a viable mate," Sung said. "I saw a parallel in Chinese opera masks. How do these visual patterns evolve to tell a specific identity?"

    Sung presented her ongoing project to the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology conference in January. She is looking at whether the Jing masks are more alike or different within a particular opera compared to masks in unrelated operas.

    "If the masks are in the same story, it follows that they are under selection for distinctiveness. So, they should show greater differences compared to masks in another opera," she said.

    Sung examined 76 masks painted by artist Steve Lu in his 1968 book "Face Painting in Chinese Opera." Sung digitally scanned and resized the images for uniformity for her computer analysis.

    Villains are often depicted in white with striking patterns. The hero traditionally wears a red mask with fewer adornments.

    "He's very virtuous. He doesn't have many features on his face, which suggests he's calm, composed and mature," Sung said.


    UC biology student Jenny Yi-Ting Sung holds up a Hyllus keratodes, a Singapore spider, in a biology lab. Credit: Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services

    Most have symmetrical features that accentuate the character's mood or personality.

    "It's rare for characters to have asymmetrical features. But that might be a nod to the audience that this character can't be trusted," she said.

    Other recurring archetypes are the loyal friend and the Monkey King, which features a flat monkey-shaped nose and round muzzle.

    "It's not just the face but the costume and performance. He jumps around the stage like a monkey," Sung said.

    Sung subjected 76 masks to what's called an eigenface analysis, a computerized breakdown that can identify the most common or unique characteristics of faces. The analysis identified the facial features that were most similar or different in the 76 examples.

    Sung's computer analysis also generated a grayscale version of the mean face (as in arithmetic mean rather than mean-looking) depicted in the 76 masks. The mean face features a patterned nose and forehead, heavily shadowed eyes and shaded mouth.

    "This is what the computer considers the average of all 76 masks after doing some cool math kung fu, the covariance that shows the differences between the masks," Sung said.

    Next, Sung plans to plot each mask to the eigenface dimensions and calculate Euclidean distances to investigate whether the masks that appear in the same opera have more variation than those in unrelated operas. This would suggest it's more important in Chinese opera to differentiate characters in the same story as opposed to characters in different stories, Sung said.

    Sung said she has gotten positive feedback on her novel approach so far from peers at conferences.


    The faces of jumping spiders have unique colors and patterns, much like Chinese opera masks. Credit: Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services

    "This is a delightful marriage of cultural interest and heritage with scientific interest in evolutionary biology," said Nathan Morehouse, an associate professor of biology at UC and Sung's advisor. "I think it's wonderful."

    Facial patterns have recurring biological significance across species, Morehouse said.

    "Jumping spiders have lots of colors and patterns on their faces that communicate information about what species they are, what sex they are and whether they're a good mate," he said.

    Besides spiders, facial pattern recognition is found in many other animals, including a genus of primates called guenons. Many of these African monkeys share the same habitats where it would be advantageous to distinguish members of the same species at a distance, Morehouse said.

    "When they live in mixed-species communities, their facial patterns evolve to be distinct so they can recognize each other," Morehouse said.


    UC biology student Jenny Yi-Ting Sung is studying the parallels between Chinese opera masks and evolutionary divergence. She subjected 76 sample masks to an eigenface analysis to identify similarities. Credit: Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services

    Morehouse said he applauds Sung's creative approach to a traditional biological discussion.

    "In our lab we're always challenging ourselves to think creatively about the questions we ask," he said about the Morehouse Lab on the UC Uptown campus. "I think it enriches science and opens up new ways of thinking about things."

    Sung said she hopes the study will shed light on evolutionary divergence, the fork in the road where members of the same species head in different genetic directions.

    "Of course, there's no punishment to the audience if they don't recognize the faces properly. But in the wild, you'd get eaten," she said.


    Provided by University of Cincinnati
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  14. #29
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    To the movies!

    Published: 10:18, November 26, 2021 | Updated: 10:18, November 26, 2021
    Peking Opera heads to the movies
    By Chen Nan
    Actress aims to popularize ancient art form among young audiences


    Scenes from Sacrifice. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

    Wang Peiyu, a 43-year-old Peking Opera actress, spends most of her working life immersed in the past, depicting characters from time-honored stories of the art form.

    She wears heavy makeup and takes on male roles while performing, and she also appears on television shows and videosharing websites to promote this form of opera and to share knowledge about it.

    There are two kinds of people in the world — those who love Peking Opera and those who don’t know they love it yet. My job is to let the latter know about the genre and for them to fall in love with it

    Wang Peiyu, Peking opera actress
    A combination of singing, dancing, acrobatics and martial arts, Peking Opera, or jingju, is more than 200 years old and was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010.

    Like many traditional art forms, it has been challenged by contemporary entertainment and is losing followers, especially among the younger generation.

    Wang, one of the most popular Peking Opera artists in China, whose shows sell out fast and who has millions of followers on social media, has been trying to revive and keep the genre alive, especially among young audiences.

    The traditional work Sacrifice, featuring Wang in the lead role, has recently been adapted into a movie of the same title, which premiered in Shanghai on Oct 28 and is being screened at more than 400 cinemas nationwide.

    Speaking before the premiere, Wang said, "It's a good time to be a Peking Opera actress, because there are a number of ways to perform for audiences-in theaters, on TV and now in cinemas.

    "It's fascinating to watch myself performing in Sacrifice. This work is very old-much older than the audiences who come to watch it. I feel thrilled to bring it alive in the cinema."

    On Dec 12, the movie will be brought to audiences in the United Kingdom and the United States by Virtual Circle, a newly established online concert and event livestreaming platform.

    For audiences new to Peking Opera, the movie offers an insight into the art form.

    Set in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Sacrifice is based on the classic Chinese tragedy The Orphan of Zhao. It tells the story of Cheng Ying, who sacrifices his baby son to replace the only survivor and heir of a persecuted family. Cheng then raises the heir as his own son, only to reveal the truth when the young man grows up and seeks revenge.

    Wang said the story is typical of Peking Opera, as it delivers a sense of positivity through strikingly different characters.

    "The contrast between good and evil is not only entertaining but also educational. It highlights traditional Chinese values," she said.

    In 1933, Gao Qingkui (1890-1942), a master of the art form, turned the story into a Peking Opera, titling it Sacrifice.

    In 1947, Meng Xiaodong (1908-77), a celebrated actress renowned for her clear voice and command of male roles, adapted the work, playing the part of Cheng Ying.


    Peking Opera actress Wang Peiyu puts on makeup before playing the lead role in the production. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

    Debut performance

    Wang is aiming to follow in the footsteps of these masters. Born and raised in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, she began her Peking Opera training when she was in middle school. She follows the performing style of Yu Shuyan (1890-1943), which is known as Yu School.

    When she was 14, Wang played Cheng Ying for the first time in Sacrifice, and since then, it has become one of her best-known roles.

    On Sept 8, 2018, filming of Sacrifice was completed at the Grand Theatre of China in Shanghai. On that date in 1947, Meng performed the role of Cheng Ying at this venue. After the performance, she announced her retirement from the stage.

    In the early 20th century, Meng was acclaimed equally with Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang (1894-1961). Like Meng, Yu specialized in playing male roles.

    Wang chose Sept 18 to complete shooting of Sacrifice as a tribute to Meng. She said the late actress' portrayals of Cheng Ying were inspiring and important to her when was training to become a Peking Opera performer.

    Italian filmmaker Marco Muller, who attended the premiere of Sacrifice in Shanghai, said: "The movie version is full of new ideas and is very creative. I'm highly impressed."

    Wang added that the film is true to the traditional work, adding that it complements the art form well and that audiences should head to theaters to enjoy the production.

    Now a leading performer with the Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company, Wang has launched the Yuyin Society, a club for children and adults interested in Peking Opera.

    "There are two kinds of people in the world-those who love Peking Opera and those who don't know they love it yet," she said. "My job is to let the latter know about the genre and for them to fall in love with it."

    Li Congzhou, CEO of Beijing company ATW Culture, which distributed Sacrifice, said the live atmosphere of the stage, with its connection between actors and audiences, has been depicted in the movie as closely as possible to a real theatergoing experience, with the help of high-definition technology.

    Since 2015, the company has brought to cinemas across China some 200 theatrical productions from around the world, including concerts, operas and ballets. This year, productions of one of Japan's oldest cultural heritages, kabuki, a form of drama incorporating storytelling, dance and acting in a refined style, have been screened in Chinese cinemas. Li said: "We want to bring international theatrical productions to Chinese cinemas and introduce Chinese theatrical productions to cinemas around the world. Peking Opera is a great art form to be displayed on the screen."

    The genre is no stranger to the cinema. Dingjun Mountain, the first Chinese movie, which was released in 1905, includes a Peking Opera excerpt.

    Movies featuring the art form were popular in the 1960s and '70s, but they began to take a back seat with the arrival of more-diverse forms of entertainment. Peking Opera masters, including Mei, Zhou Xinfang and Cheng Yanqiu, starred in films that have become valuable material for researchers.
    continued next post
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  15. #30
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    Continued from previous post


    Wang Peiyu, Peking opera actress. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

    Rising interest

    In recent years, some movie production companies have made Peking Opera films, triggering increased interest in the topic.

    The government also encourages online screening and streaming of traditional Chinese opera productions.

    In December, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a notice aimed at promoting the high-quality development of the digital culture industry, suggesting that theatrical productions of traditional Chinese operas be encouraged to develop and innovate.

    During the National Day holiday last month, the ministry helped organize a weeklong event in Beijing to showcase such operas. The event attracted 23 art troupes, and more than 240 shows were staged. It was attended by nearly 80,000 people, while online audiences of more than 20 million watched the shows on livestreaming platforms.

    China Pingju Opera Theater, which is dedicated to Pingju Opera, was among the art troupes performing at the event. This ancient art form, which originated in Tangshan, Hebei province, during the latter years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), is popular in northern China.

    Hou Hong, vice-president of the theater company, said, "For years, we've been trying to figure out ways to popularize traditional Chinese operas, and we've achieved that goal through online programs."

    In addition to livestreaming shows, the company gives livestreamed lectures about Pingju Opera every week.

    "We started our online programs early last year after the pandemic hit, but we had no idea about them, as we staged all our shows in theaters," Hou said.

    "We quickly gathered together our artists and trained our staff members to learn about the technology. It's a big challenge combining traditional Chinese operas and short videos, which have their own rhythm."

    The theater company gradually mastered the art of designing online programs by training performers at home each day and through rehearsals with bands.

    "Surprisingly, our fan base is growing among young people, who are major users of mobile phones," Hou said. "Now, after more than a year, launching online programs has become our new normal."

    Unlike Peking Opera, which often portrays huge battles and tells heroic stories, Pingju Opera is deeply rooted in the everyday lives of people in northern China, often highlighting household issues and romantic liaisons.

    China Pingju Opera Theater has made short videos telling these stories through classic works such as Flowers as Matchmakers, which was adapted into a movie in 1964 featuring veteran actresses Xin Fengxia and Zhao Lirong.

    The film was a big success and is one of the best-selling productions in the company's repertoire.

    One of the most popular movies posted by the theater on the short-video app Douyin featured Pingju Opera actress Zhang Qi in full makeup and costume conveying emotions such as hesitancy, suspicion and contempt.

    Actress Wang Jing, 39, said: "It's fun to read messages posted online by audience members. Many of them are young people who have never watched Pingju Opera performances in theaters."

    Wang Jing, who has performed with China Pingju Opera Theater since 2002, has been attempting to familiarize more audiences with the ancient art form through online programs.

    "It will be great if we can develop an interest in these audiences while better demonstrating the cultural significance of traditional Chinese operas to moviegoers," she added.

    chennan@chinadaily.com.cn
    I hope they show one of the martial operas.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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