Peking Opera - Mei Lanfang Classics

Mei Lanfang Classics is a show composed of excerpts from six classic plays by Mei Lanfang (1894-1961), one of Peking Opera's greatest masters. Under the direction of Li Liuyi, who is famous for his innovative approach to traditional Chinese operas, the show provides a view of Peking Opera in its heyday.

What's even more special about Mei Lanfang Classics is the venue, the Zhengyici Theater (or Temple Theater), a wooden structure built on the site of a temple in 1688 that has largely maintained the ambience of an old Peking Opera Theater.

Mei Lanfang, the most representative male Dan (playing the female role) in 20th-century Peking Opera, reached the performing peak of Peking Opera. 'Mei Lanfang Classics', five highlights from his classical works, brings the audience to a condensed appreciation of Peking Opera performing art within 90 minutes.

One of the few oldest opera house in Beijing, The two-storey opera tower in the Zhengyici theatre is unique among guildhall opera towers and is honored 'the living fossil of China’s ancient opera towers'. Watching Peking Opera in a traditional house is a must choice for tourists in Beijing and 'Mei Lanfang Classics' is the good choice.

Programmes (5 highlights):

Battle with Invaders (CHINESE: KANG JIN BING) - In order to fight the invading Jin troops, Liang Hongyu, wife of General Han Shizhong of the Song Dynasty, went to the battlefield to beat the drums, fight against invaders and finally won a grand victory.

Drunken Princess (CHINESE: GUI FEI ZUI JIU) - Emperor Ming makes an appointment with Princess Yang to enjoy the flowers and drink the wine. Princess gets the banquet ready but the emperor has gone to another Princess’s palace. Princess Yang is annoyed and has to drink by herself until she gets drunk.

Taking Command of Troops (CHINESE: MU GUIYING GUA SHUAI) - When the lord of West Xia starts a rebellion, the female general Mu Guiying takes command of the troops again at the age of fifty. This play is the acme of Mei School and the last play of Meilanfang through his life.

Sylph Scattering Flowers (CHINESE: TIAN NV SAN HUA) - The Buddha orders the heavenly maid to scatter the blossoms in Vimalakirtinirdesa’s room in order to test his faith. The heavenly maid scatters the blossoms in front of Vimalakirtinirdesa and proclaims the Buddha’s words before she returns to the west.

Farewell to Princess Yu (CHINESE: BA WANG BIE JI) - Xiang Yu, Hegemon king of West Chu, is encircled by the king of Han. Hegemon king’ Princess, Yu, drinking the wine and dancing with the sword, commits suicide. Afterwards, Hegemon king says farewell to his war-horse and kills himself by the Wujiang River.

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