Home   | New Year Gala   | Year of Tiger   | Festival Traditions   | Videos & Audios   | Photo Gallery   |  
Best of Peking Opera at Forbidden City

Forty-eight-year-old teacher Zhu Zhiliang goes to the Forbidden City Concert Hall every Spring Festival to watch a Peking Opera performance. This year, he expects something more.

In cooperation with China National Peking Opera Company, the venue will present the most popular Peking Opera artists singing the best-known melodies on Feb 14, the first day of the Year of the Tiger.

Zhu is delighted that his favorite stars - Li Weikang, Geng Qichang and Feng Zhixiao - will be there. He has been watching their performances for years.

"The three of them used to perform frequently at the Spring Festival Chinese Opera Gala on CCTV, but they haven't appeared regularly since 2005. I'm so excited about watching their performance live," Zhu says.

Li Weikang, now a professor at the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts, will perform her masterpiece Farewell, My Concubine, in which she stars as Yuji, the imperial consort of Xiang Yu, who lost the battle to Liu Bang at the end of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-AD 207).

She won the prestigious Chinese Opera Plum Blossom Award and gained the title of National First Grade Performer.

Li's husband, Geng Qichang, has performed for decades. Most of his roles have been as the husband or lover of Li. They are viewed as a perfect couple, both on and off stage.

"The Forbidden City Concert Hall's shows will also provide a platform for young talents, whose performances will be another highlight of the show," Zhu Zhiliang says.

Rising stars, including Jiang Qihu, Huang Bingqiang and Liu Zheng, will bring traditional excerpts from Tricks, Hongniang the Matchmaker, The Phoenix Returns to Her Nest and The Forth Son Visits His Mother.

Modern and contemporary works include Taken Over Weihu Mountain Wisely, Shajiabang and A Story of Red Lantern.

There will also be a show featuring 12 young artists who follow the style of veteran performer Cheng Yanqiu (1904-58), on Feb 15. Cheng is one of the four iconic performers of Danjue (women's roles) in Peking Opera. He created many classic productions in the 1920s and 1930s.

The artists come from four theaters in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. They will sing classic works Cheng created, including Zhu Yingtai Refuses to Get Married, Snow in June and Seeing off My Sons and Daughters.

"We hold Peking Opera concerts every Spring Festival. We invite the most famous performers to sing the most popular songs, which satisfies many Peking Opera fans," says Zhu Jing, publicity manager of the Forbidden City Concert Hall.

7:30 pm, Feb 14, 15, Forbidden City Concert Hall, 010-6559-8285

Story: Gan Tian (China Daily)

Editor: Li Cheng

New Year Customs

Follow Me