Series of performances commemorate Peking Opera masters
The Shanghai Peking Opera Co and Beijing Peking Opera Theater will co-present three classic performances from September 1 through 3 at the Yifu Theater, to commemorate the collaboration of Peking Opera masters Zhou Xinfang and Ma Lianliang nearly 100 years ago.
Zhou, the founder of the Qi vocal school,was the first director of the Shanghai Peking Opera. Ma, a founder of the Beijing Peking Opera Theater, also founded the distinctive Ma vocal school. Both of the two influential singing and performing styles of Peking Opera have developed large fan bases in China.
The three performances will be led by celebrated Peking Opera artists Chen Shaoyun and Zhu Qiang.
The two artists and their students will stage the classic play "A Handful of Snow," a legend about an invaluable jade cup, and well-known excerpts from "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" and "A Battle of Changsha."
Ma Long, the grandson of Ma Lianliang, said at a workshop on Sunday that his grandfather had a strong affinity with Shanghai. During his career, Ma paid more than 30 visits to the city to perform for enthusiastic audiences and fans.
"In 1927, my grandfather and Zhou collaborated on stage for the first time, also at Yifu Theater," Ma said. "Their cooperation was such a big success that the performances of 'Borrowing the East Wind' ran more than two months at the theater."
Zhang Fan, director of the Shanghai Peking Opera Co, said that the series of performances mark the exchange and inheritance of the two vocal arts from the north and south of China.
The Qi vocal school is vigorous and powerful while the Ma vocal school is elegant and unrestrained. Both schools are adept at depicting old male roles of Peking Opera.
"Throughout the two masters' careers, paths to fame, performing ideas, and life experiences, Zhou and Ma shared lots of similarities," Zhang added. "They are also confidants who appreciated each other."
Chen, an artist of the Qi vocal school, said he his career has spanned more than 60 years. He said that what Zhou conveyed to audiences was also a profound and innovative spirit of performing.
Zhu, an artist of the Ma vocal school, said that he would spare no effort to bring more classic plays of the predecessors to the stage and cultivate the audiences of today.
Date: September 1-2, 7:15pm; September 3, 1:30pm
Venue: Yifu Theater
Address: 701 Fuzhou Rd