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Memorable Peking opera show in Wuhan University
Author:Li Yunzhen  Date:2017-05-26  Clicks:

A special Peking opera show was held in WHU to commemorate the 170th anniversary of Tan Xinpei, one of the most famous Peking opera actors in the late Qing Dynasty in last April. Actors from the Peking Opera Theatre, Wuhan Peking Opera Theatre and their colleagues from other cities offered the audience a great performance. Senior citizens, staff and students from WHU crowded the hall, cheering and applauding with genuine enthusiasm.

This special Peking opera show with a galaxy of talented stars was to commemorate the opera master and founder of the Tan Style opera performance. Tan Xinpei, a native of Wuchang in Hubei Province, the Beijing Opera master, was born in 1847 in the Qing Dynasty. He mainly played Laosheng roles (senior male roles). Laosheng actors are required to attain a dignified demeanor yet maintain a gentle aura.. Tan Xinpei created a large number of artistic images in his life. He carefully observed characters' identity and temperament so that each play closely resembled the original.


The first Chinese-made film, Battle in Dingjun Mount. 60-year-old Tan Xinpei starred in this short film

Tan Xinpei not only paid attention to appearances, but also added his unique characteristics while singing and performing. He opened a new world of opera performances for Laosheng roles and his way of performing became popular. After more than half a century, many Laosheng actors still imitate him. The "Tan style” and school takes after his name.

Peking opera stars performed without costume, and they picked some pieces from famous acts and sang opera arias to musicians' accompaniment. Over 20 actors brought out their best in front of the audience, and several groups of chief musicians, professional Erhu players as well as drummers took turns to accompany the show. Some of their excellent performances were captured in the following pictures.


Actor Wang Yingzhen sang a piece from Judge Bao and the QinXiang-lian Case



Actress Zhu Hong sang a piece from the Azure Maiden


Chi Xiaoqiu, chief of Peking Opera Troupe, sang a piece from The Kylin Purse



Zhang Huifang, the prima donna in the Hubei Troupe before she went to the Beijing Troupe, took the show to the climax.


Hu Wenge, the 3rd generation of Master Mei Lanfang’s descendant, sang a piece from Imperial Concubine Yang


Zhu Qiang sang the Su Wu the Shepherd


The grand finale of the night, presented by the sixth generation descendant of Tan School, Tan Xiaozeng and his son, Tan Zhengyan.

Wuhan is famous for having such an appreciative and tasteful audience in the world of opera; therefore, it is called the “opera’s metropolis”. The sixth generation descendant of Tan School, Tan Xiaozeng, and his son Tan Zhengyan expressed their appreciation of the Wuhan audience’s enthusiasm, and they said that performing in their hometown encouraged them to work harder, which made the audience applause even more wildly.

It is reported that this special Peking opera show was the fifth play in a series of activity for the Commemorative Opera Show for the 170th Anniversary of Tan Xinpei. This series was organized thanks to the joint effort of the Propaganda Department of Wuhan CPC, the Wuhan Bureau of Culture, the Wuhan Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the Jiangxia District Government.


Photo by Wang Zhimin/Jin Xin/news.whu.edu.cn; edited by Liu Li, Edmund Wai Man Lai & Hu Sijia


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