The 7th Peking Opera Festival Held in Geneva

The Peking Opera Festival provides a stage for Peking Opera stars to work with world’s top theatres...

Ms. Xiaoqiu Chi, Mr. Tobias Richter from the Grand Théâtre de Genève,
Mr. Yuchen Gao, Ms. Hongyan Li, Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland Ms. Jinghu Xu,
Mr. Jiatong Wu, Principal of the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing Mr. Enjie Li and the actors

Since 2012, when the idea of a ‘Peking Opera Festival' was first advanced by both Wu Promotion and the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing, the ‘Peking Opera Festival' has been held successfully six times around the world and has since gradually formed its own brand and influence. The Peking Opera Festival provides a stage for Peking Opera stars to work with world's top theatres and showcase the performing arts of Peking Opera. At the same time, it also provides opportunities for young actors to enhance their talent, so that they can inherit and pass forward Peking Opera more actively. On the promotion of the Peking Opera Festival, this classical Asian Art has been revitalized through promotion overseas.  

Having received recommendation from Wu Promotion to be invited by the Grand Théâtre de Genève , and under the organizational mandate of three organizations, the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing embarked on the 7th overseas tour of the Peking Opera Festival on October 29th. Two productions were performed during this tour, including Female Generals of the Yang Family and One Good Turn Deserves Another, through which the extraordinary charm of Peking Opera was revealed again and again. The two famous productions greatly satisfied the Swiss audience. Many audience members, having watched Peking Opera for the first time, remarked that they felt that the performance had brought them closer to Chinese traditional culture. During the entire tour, the actors sang without the use of microphones. This decision was meant not only to demonstrate the innate authenticity of Peking Opera as well as pay respects to its predecessors, but also to match the artistic altitude of the Grand Théâtre de Genève and respect the musical taste of the European audience.

On the evening of October 31st, Female Generals of the Yang Family was performed at the Grand Théâtre de Genève on the eve of Halloween, adding a feeling of pleasant enjoyment for the local audience and still attracting enough interest to fill 60% of available seating. That night, the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing cast the Grand Théâtre de Genève under a magnificent spotlight. The setting came to life and combined with exquisite props, well prepared make up and well-designed costumes, all Jingju Theater Company of Beijing staff, both on and off the stage, worked diligently to enhance stage effect. With gorgeous and gentle rhythm, fast and refined acrobatic fighting, the free flowing performance drew the audience into the scenery and immersed them in the free flowing plot. Ms. Hongyan Li and Ms. Shujing Zhang's performance on the stage greatly fascinated the foreign audience.

Before the show, the theatre prepared introduction materials with the history of Peking Opera in French. Furthermore, in order to suit the local audience's taste better, the traditional programs were moderately adjusted.

After her 1600th performance of One Good Turn Deserves Another on November 1st the famous actress Ms. Xiaoqiu Chi said ‘Good art is beyond borders.' She experienced a deep sense of gratitude after the audience stayed to applaud her performance. “Traditional art is in our roots, it is a part of each one of our souls” she remarked after the performance. “In order to get access to first-class theatres abroad, we must be very critical in showcasing our art because only high quality can move an audience”. In Chi's opinion, as Peking Opera is an elaborate stage form, pre-performance introduction of the classical art when shown abroad would help educate the audience in understanding Peking Opera.

The principal of the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing Mr. Enjie Li said, ‘in the past, mostly we focused on the problem of whether or not the foreign audience could understand the show. Now we focus on comprehensively revealing our art. Although there will undoubtedly be differences and difficulties in understanding, through offering subtitles, written or oral introductions we can at least ensure a basic level of understanding.  

The oversea promotion of Peking Opera is a long term task. The goal is to cultivate an audience and foreign Peking Opera fans one performance at a time. A representative of the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Mr. Tobias Richter said these were two of the few traditional Chinese productions at the Grand Théâtre de Genève in recent years. What the theatre cared most is not success at the box office, but the process of attracting local audience to pay attention to the culture of China and other countries. The next time Chinese traditional productions return, the theatre would spend more time on promotion, or introduce Chinese art forms to local audience through lectures and workshops.

This tour was specially supported by Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland Ms. Jinghu Xu. She noted that the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing's tour to Switzerland was a good opportunity for local people to enjoy Chinese quintessence. High attendance was proof of Swiss people's appreciation and love for Chinese culture.

Clipping Report:

Xinhua Net

More Pictures...