“120 years: China celebrates its most famous Peking opera star”
[New York, NY] – In recognition of the 120th anniversary of the most famous Peking Opera performer of all time Mei Lanfang, Wu Promotion presents Mei Baojiu, son of Mei Lanfang, together with the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing, Mei Lanfang Jingju Troupe in performances of “Classic Plays of the Mei School” and “Lady Mu Guiying Takes Command” at Lincoln Center in New York and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. this August.
“Classic Plays of the Mei School” includes performances of five celebrated operas: The Goddess of Heaven Scatters Flowers, LianJinfeng· Pierce the Mussel, Resisting Jin Troops, Farewell My Concubine and Drunken Beauty and will be performed at New York’s David H. Koch Theater on August 20th and 23rd at 7:30 pm. “Lady Mu Guiying Takes Command” explores issues such as personal ethics versus national duty, and the power of youthful exuberance versus the wisdom of age, and will be performed at the Koch Theater on August 24th at 2:00 pm.
The quintessence of Chinese culture, the Peking Opera is known for its lavishly embroidered costumes and colorful makeup. Performing on a characteristically sparse stage, the skilled actors rely on their expert physical and vocal techniques, combining music, vocal performance, mime, dance, and acrobatics to tell their story. Layers of meaning within each movement and sound are expressed within the operas, which are based on Chinese history and folklore.
Mei Lanfang (1894-1961), the most famous master of Peking Opera in China, was a legend for his outstanding artistic contribution as a cultural ambassador of China and Chinese art. Mei Lanfang became best known as one of the “Four Most Famous Dan Performers” (male artists who represent or impersonate themselves as female characters). Because of his innovations, his unique oriental opera system became known as the “Mei School,” which together with the Russian Stanislavski System and the German Brecht System form the “Three Performing Systems of the World.”
In bringing the Peking Opera to the United States for the first time in 1930, Mei Lanfang received praise from the American media, stating, “Mei Lanfang’s art unquestionably surpasses all obstacles existing between East and West.” While in the US, he formed lasting relationships with luminaries including Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and NY Mayor James Rolph, Jr. The University of Southern California and Pomona College both presented him with honorary doctorates of literature. With a career that spanned more than 50 years, Mei Lanfang performed more than 100 different roles, winning him international recognition and creating a considerable legacy for the Peking Opera.
Mei Lanfang’s son Mei Baojiu, the only descendant to carry on the family tradition, will lead the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing, Mei Lanfang Jingju Troupe to the US in August for a series of performances to carry on his father’s legacy. “These events have been organized to carry on his legacy. I want this art to continue the way I learned it, acted it, and taught it to my students and now present it to the world,” says Baojiu.
Tickets begin at $25 and are available at http://davidhkochtheater.com/moreinfoPO.html.
About Jingju Theater Company of Beijing
Established in the spring of 1979, the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing is one of the largest and most prestigious Peking Opera performance groups in China. It is directly affiliated with the Beijing Municipal Government and enjoys an incomparable status in China’s domestic opera performance.
SOURCE Wu Promotion