Performers lead viewers on an online culture tour of Peking Opera

Besides showcasing the singing and movements, the artists also introduced the history of the 200-year-old art form and how artists prepared for performances.


Peking Opera actress Zhang Lan puts on her costume for a classic Peking Opera role She Taijun. [Photo provided to China Daily]

November 3, 2022

BEIJING – Performers of China National Peking Opera Company took audiences to the backstage at Mei Lanfang Theater, with an online bilingual tour titled Culture Tour of Peking Opera: Behind the Scene, which was livestreamed on Oct 30 and attracted more than 1.3 million views.

Peking Opera performers, including Lyu Kunshan, who specializes in performing wuchou (role combining comedy with martial arts), and Zhang Lan, who specializes in laodan (senior female role), were among the “tour guide” of the online show.

Besides showcasing the Peking Opera singing and movements, the performers also introduced the history of the 200-year-old art form and how artists prepare themselves before giving a performance, such as putting on costumes and painting their faces, which are symbolic for different roles.

Peking Opera actor Lyu Kunshan at the backstage of Mei Lanfang Theater. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Peking Opera is a vivid, highly stylized form of the genre, combining acrobatics, martial arts, music, drama and dance. It was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Intangible Cultural Heritages List in 2010.

Mei Lanfang Theater is named after Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang (1884-1961), arguably one of China’s greatest Peking Opera actors specializing in nandan (young female roles played by men). The theater, which offers audiences with performances by China National Peking Opera Company, serves as one of the most popular venues in Beijing.

The online event is a collaboration among Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchanges Center, Beijing Poly Theater Management Company and China National Peking Opera Company. Since 2020, a project, titled Culture Tour of Peking Opera, was launched by Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchanges Center, aiming at showcasing the beauty of the Peking Opera.

Peking Opera actor Liu Dake paints his face. [Photo provided to China Daily]

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