The 2023 Jiangsu Opera Masters University Tour made a stunning stop at Nanjing University of Science and Technology with the performance of the Peking Opera “Mei Lanfang: The Beard.” The play delves into the story of Mei Lanfang’s refusal to perform for the Japanese during the Anti-Japanese War, showcasing the pride and dedication of the Peking Opera master to his family and country.
Divided into four parts, the play brings to life the struggle and unwavering commitment of Mei Lanfang as he stood his ground against the Japanese invaders. The audience is taken on a journey through the life of the Peking Opera legend, witnessing his firm stance and unwavering patriotism during a tumultuous period in Chinese history.
Through the powerful interpretation and emotions portrayed on stage, the audience was deeply moved by Mei Lanfang’s resolute refusal to kowtow to the Japanese forces. Li Xinyi, a student at Nanjing University of Science and Technology, expressed her overwhelming emotions after watching the play, highlighting Mei Lanfang’s artistic talent and his deep love and respect for traditional Chinese culture.
The role of Mei Lanfang was portrayed by Li Yanmao, a young actor from the Jiangsu Performing Arts Group. He expressed his honor and nervousness in embodying the character of Master Mei Lanfang, emphasizing the importance of spreading traditional culture and telling Chinese stories through his performance.
Ma Yuyun, who portrayed Mei Lanfang’s wife Fu Zhifang, reflected on the challenges of portraying the character’s intelligence and generosity in a limited role, while Zhang Shaoliang, who played Mei Lanfang’s close friend Feng Gengguang, shared the difficulties and excitement in resuscitating the spirit of the character on stage.
The performance left a lasting impression on the audience, with students expressing their newfound admiration for Peking Opera and the value of preserving traditional Chinese culture. Zou Zhixin, a student at Nanjing University of Science and Technology, emphasized the importance of inheriting and cherishing China’s excellent traditional culture, while Guo Jiawei expressed his renewed appreciation for the quintessence of Chinese art.
The profound impact of the play resonated with the audience, leaving them with a deeper understanding and appreciation for Peking Opera and the enduring spirit of Mei Lanfang. The performance was hailed as a unique and unforgettable artistic experience, providing a foundation for the future generations to continue spreading the rich cultural heritage of Peking Opera.
The showcase of “Mei Lanfang: The Beard” at Nanjing University of Science and Technology marks a significant step in promoting and preserving the traditional art form, reaffirming the timeless relevance and enduring legacy of Peking Opera.