“Chinese Culture Feast Catering for Edmonton, Beijing Opera Melody Touching All Hearts”
- Confucius Institute in Edmonton, Canada, successfully holds the Beijing Opera gala

[Source]    Confucius Institute in Edmonton [Time]    2014-04-25 11:53:32 

“Beijing Opera Gala—East Meets West”, jointly held by the Confucius Institute in Edmonton, Canada, and the Edmonton Beijing Opera Association, was successfully presented on the evening of February 22, 2014, at Myer Horowitz Theatre of University of Alberta. The three-hour performance of Chinese Beijing Opera gave a feast of sounds and visual arts to an audience of 600 people from various circles in Edmonton.

Yan Qingping, an amateur performer of Being Opera who is the only overseas pupil of the well-known Beijing Opera artist Mr. Mei Baojiu, led the Edmonton Beijing Opera Association to perform in this event, together with Jiang Shijia from Montreal and the Canadian Beijing Opera troupe led by her. They gave a hearty and excellent performance of traditionally famous pieces including The Heavenly Maids Scattering Blossoms, The Drunken Beauty, Entering the Palace Twice, as well as some new and gripping pieces such as Rhythm of Water and Havoc in Dragon Palace.

The Canadian performer of Beijing Opera, Natasha, in Rhythm of Water

Jiang Shijia and her overseas pupils performing the English version of Havoc in Dragon Palace

The amateur performer of Beijing Opera and overseas pupil of Mr. Mei Baojiu, Yan Qingping playing the leading role in Entering the Palace Twice

The most eye-catching performances were English versions of Havoc in Dragon Palace and Rhythm of Water given by Jiang Shijia and her four foreign pupils. With the traditional features of makeup, costumes and image shaping kept intact and the spoken parts performed in English, Havoc in Dragon Palace well blended the witty and lively elements characterizing Western drama into acting, speaking and martial arts of Beijing Opera. This form of performance was easily accepted by foreign audience, as it removed language barriers and heightened the humorous effects, arousing roars of laughter and thunderous applause.

This night’s show was splendid and brilliant, giving full expression to the charms of Beijing Opera: the proficiently vivid and naturally smooth performance, the melodious and beautiful music, the exquisitely designed stage effects, the stunningly brilliant costumes, and the unique Chinese artistic features, all evoked an enthusiastic response from the audience. This well displayed the distinctive charisma of Beijing Opera, one of the gems of Chinese classic culture.

“The Beijing Opera is so amazing! Many people found it incredible that I had the courage to learn Beijing Opera since I’m not Chinese. But I, a college student obsessed with Chinese culture under the influence of Chinese traditional art, have finally succeeded in becoming a Beijing Opera performer. Thank teachers who help me realize my dream! We will try harder to share the beauty of Beijing Opera with more Canadians!” When interviewed by the media, Natasha said these with excitement. She has been learning Beijing Opera for four years and just demonstrated her skilled practices with the long sleeves in the performance of Rhythm of Water.

The gala received strong support and generous financial aid from the Confucius Institute in Quebec, one of the initiators of this event. Rong Meng, Director of the Confucius Institute in Quebec, came to the performance to show her support. The Confucius Institute at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Vancouver, also provided technological support and manpower throughout the whole event. Through joint efforts and close cooperation, the three Confucius Institutes successfully held the great gala which fully presented the Chinese traditional culture and Beijing Opera. The gala was broadcast live worldwide on Confucius Institute Online. The present honorable guests included Wang Xinping, Consul General of Consulate-General of the PRC in Calgary, Teresa Woo-Paw, Associate Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations of Alberta, and Members of Parliament of Alberta and Edmonton. They addressed the event warmly and showed high regard for the contribution made by the Confucius Institute in Edmonton towards the promotion of outstanding Chinese traditional culture and the enhancement of cultural exchange and friendship between China and Canada.

By Kong Qingming