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New York audience marvel at Peking Opera show

2014-08-22 16:14:19



Actress Dou Xiaoxuan performs Peking Opera "The Goddess of Heaven Scatters Flowers" during a preview for media at Lincoln Center in New York City, Aug 20, 2014. (Xinhua/Wang Lei)

"I think it's absolutely fabulous," said the 79-year-old lady Nyrnakay Siegler, who is among the hundreds of American spectators who came all the way here to watch the Chinese Peking opera show Wednesday night.

"The costumes are so beautiful...I love how bright and vibrant they are, and I like the yellow tassels, that's awesome," she said with excitement.

The performance in New York's Lincoln Center inaugurated Jingju Theater Company's U.S. tour marking the 120th anniversary of Chinese theater mogul Mei Lanfang.

The Jingju Theater Company of Beijing led by Mei Lanfang's son, Mei Baojiu, now in his eighties, will also stage a show at Washington's Kennedy Center.

From December 1929 to June 1930, the master of Jingju (Peking Opera), Mei Lanfang led his Jingju troupe to perform in eight US cities for half a year in an effort to bridge the Sino-American chasm created by cultural differences between the East and the West.

Now, top performers of Jingju are following Mei's footprints by taking a tour at home and abroad to mark his 120th birth anniversary.

Siegler said she lives in New York for half a year every year, because as a former actress she loves dancing so much that she would not miss most dance performances in New York.

"I bought a ticket for myself today to come here to see Jingju," she said.

Mei Baojiu said even though he can no longer perform now, he has played his humble part by carefully selecting male and female disciples to present his father's masterpieces to the American people.

"Mei Lanfang's operas fully expressed the depth and richness of Chinese opera culture, as well as the elegant, exquisite, mysterious and luxurious aspects of Chinese opera performances," he said prior to the show.

As the quintessence of Chinese culture, the Peking Opera, known for its lavishly embroidered costumes and colorful makeup, has evolved into the most representative and most influential stage form in China, best known as the "National Opera."

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, which are based on Chinese history and folklore.

The tour aims to expose more American mainstream audience to Chinese culture and art, enhance cultural exchanges between China and the world and increase the global influence of Chinese culture, said Li Enjie, director of Jingju Theater Company of Beijing.

"The performance in the United States inherits the spirit of pursuing innovation and perfection of the past opera masters, and will promote the reform of Peking Opera to adapt to the development of modern times," he said.

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