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Mei Lanfang's son discusses father's impact on Peking Opera

2014-07-17 15:24:44



I know that you have two brothers and a sister. How come your brothers didn't carry on your father's legacy?

"They weren't good at it. You can tell when someone has the right physical attributes for Peking Opera. I wasn't afraid of the stage, I looked most like my dad compared to my brothers, and because I was able to sing in falsetto, my dad chose me to learn the female role," Mei Baojiu said.

Mei Lanfang wasn't just your father but was also a teacher. Can you talk to us about the different roles he played in your life?

"He was a strict but loving father. He never used force to teach me things. After performances, he would point out problems and then always try to inspire me. He was also a very curious person taking up hobbies in many different fields of Chinese traditional art, like painting and he loved listening to western operas and classical music. He tried to teach me a variety of different genres of art as well, so that I got a comprehensive understanding of the artistic world," Mei Baojiu said.

What's the legacy you would like to leave behind for the next generation?

"My one and only job is to make sure that the Mei Lanfang School will be passed down and thrive for another generation. This is what I want people to remember me for," Mei Baojiu said.

Born in 1894 as the son and grandson of noted opera singers, Mei Lanfang began studying Peking Opera at age 8.

Mei played mostly female roles and his style of dance and singing won such acclaim over the years that it came to be known as the Mei Lanfang School.

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