On September 9, 2014, a tasteful and beautiful performance of the Peking Opera “Drunken Concubine”, the first of its kind at the Open University of China (OUC), was held to mark the announcement and debut of the OUC Peking Opera Research and Study Society after preparation for nearly two years. The announcement was made as part of the cultural activities held to celebrate 2014 Teachers’ Day.
Yan Bing and Zhang Shaogang, vice presidents of the OUC, watched this hugely enjoyable Peking Opera. The performance was jointly hosted by the OUC School of Arts, the Labor Union and the Peking Opera Research and Study Society.
The Society aims to promote the Chinese culture, inherit, research and study the art of Beijing Opera; enhance the cohesion of the open university system; promote the construction of OUC campus culture; and enhance the overall strength and competence of the OUC. The Society’s advisory group is made up of Peking Opera specialists, including Cui Wei (Vice General Secretary of the Chinese Dramatists Society and Director of the Theory Research Office), Zhao Jingbo (Director of the Peking Opera Research Institute of the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts), Zhang Guanzheng (Vice Director of the Peking Opera Research Institute of the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts), Zhang Yijuan (Professor of the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, former President of China Opera School), Ma Li (Director of the Peking Opera Department of the Central Academy of Drama), Feng Hongqi (national level first-class drummer for Zhanyou Cultural Troupe), Dong Cuina (national level first-class actress, member of CPPCC, Vice President of Yantai Municipal Literary Federation), Zhang Xuehao (son of Peking Opera master Mr. Zhang Junqiu) and Liu Zhimin (Capital Jinghu Art Research Association). Yan Bing acts as general consultant. At the event, President of the Peking Opera Research and Study Society Li Yanzhong granted letters of appointment to senior advisors Zhang Xuehao, Dong Cuina, Feng Hongqi, Liu Zhimin, four Peking Opera performance artists, and general consultant Yan Bing.
The Society invited a number of performance artists to participate in the musical performance as part of the show, including Banhu fiddle player Feng Hongqi (national level first-class drummer for Zhanyou Peking Opera Troupe); Jinghu player Liu Zhimin (Capital Jinghu Art Research Association); Erhu fiddle player Hong Yingru; Yue qin guitar player Yuan Qingshu; flute players Zhong Ruan and Xie Wenzi (members of the band of the original cast of “Shajiabang”); three-string player Ma Zhongkun (China National Peking Opera Company, national level first-class player, accompanied famous artists such as Li Weikang, Yu Kuizhi and Zhang Huoding ); Da Ruan player Li Lianghui; Zhong Ruan player Pang Huiru; big gong player Pu Donggeng (China National Peking Opera Company); small gong player Wang Shaoming (Beijing Peking Opera); and big cymbal player Xu Jinzhong (China National Peking Opera Company).
Yan Bing hosted the Peking Opera concert. He cited quotes from classic works and illustrated the stories behind the songs, drawing rounds of applause from the teaching and administrative staff
Dong Cuina, national level first-class actress and senior advisor of the Society, gave an impromptu performance
Zhang Xuehao, the son of Mr. Zhang Junqiu, gave an impromptu performance
Zhang Shuangling from the OUC sang “Drunken Concubine”
Lu Di from the OUC sang “Mu Guiying Takes Command”
Li Huimin from Hebei RTVU sang “Zhao’s Orphan”
Wang Jianqiu from Tianjin RTVU sang “Meeting the Queen”
Zhang Shuangling, Sun Meichun, Lu Di, Zhang Baohe, Wang Fang, Zhang Naiyan, Wu Minglei, Ren Yan and Wang Jie from the OUC performed songs including “Drunken Concubine”, “Catch and Release Cao Cao”, “Mu Guiying Takes Command”, “Judge Bao and the Qin Xianglian Case”, “The Unicorn-trapping Purse”, “Hold Young Man”, “Yang Silang Visits His Mother”, “The General and the Premier Make Up”, and “Camp on Huai River”. Wang Jifen from Beijing Open University sang “Romance of the West Chamber”. Wang Jianqiu and Wang Kun from Tianjin RTVU performed “Meet the Queen” and “Three Inns”. Li Huimin from Hebei RTVU performed classic Peking Opera chapters including “Zhao’s Orphan”. Li Yanzhong from the OUC, together with Dong Haiping, Wu Hongmei and Niu Hongliang from the OUC Bayi College performed different arias from the modern Peking Opera “Shajiabang”. Dong Cuina, national level first-class actress and senior advisor of the Society, and Zhang Xuehao, son of Mr. Zhang Junqiu, also gave impromptu performances. Sun Mingbo and other young staff members from the OUC sang the Peking Opera song “Sing Facial Makeup” together.
The Society is a cultural group, with the teaching and administrative staff of school system of the OUC forming its backbone. Guided by professionals from Peking Opera circles in Beijing, it is designed to unite Peking Opera lovers from the university (within the OUC system) and from all walks of society so that they can exchange, research and study the art of Peking Opera; The Society’s main functions include: keeping in close contact with Peking Opera lovers in the OUC; carrying out the study and exchange of Peking Opera art; continuously promoting the art and accomplishments of Peking Opera lovers; carry out mass Peking Opera practice and exchange activities; promoting Peking Opera knowledge by engaging scholars to host lectures on Peking Opera art; establishing a platform for developing systematic Peking Opera exchange activities; organizing, editing and popularizing distance general knowledge textbooks and courses about Peking Opera; setting up a practical base for Peking Opera at the OUC; organizing activities such as training, performances and contests; and carrying out the exchange and cooperation of Peking Opera with Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and other foreign countries.
The Society currently has more than 50 members and member recruitment is ongoing.
By Ma Tao, the OUC