Dec 24th 2013
A century ago, MEI Lanfang, a towering master of Peking opera, made his Shanghai debut with an assortment of plays, giving great delight and pleasure to the audience there. Since then he has formed an indissoluble bond with Shanghai. Nowadays, the MEI School, a performing style established by him, has been succeeded and developed by its descendants. On the centennial of his Shanghai debut, to inspire the young with the classic plays, Shanghai Opera School and the MEI Lanfang Institute, both affiliated to Shanghai Theatre Academy (STA), staged two shows featuring the MEI School performance at the YIFU Theatre on December 7th and 8th. The next day, a symposium on the succession of the MEI School was held in STA. Before the first show, a book release party for Instructions for the MEI School was hosted in YIFU Theatre, with an ensuing book signing given by MEI Baojiu, the son of MEI Lanfang and a leading figure of the MEI School, along with his disciples.
The commemoration has a strong resonance with Cycle of Sixty Years Appointment, a tournament to mark the 120th anniversary of MEI Lanfang’s birth. But it differed from the Cycle, for it features the plays that MEI performed a century ago, such as Betrothal At the Painted Tower, Fenhe Gulf, Wu Jiapo Hill, Sword of the Cosmos. Apart from LI Yufu, a disciple of MEI Lanfang and WEI Haimin and TIAN Hui, disciples of MEI Baojiu, who performed in the shows, TAN Xiaoceng, the master of the sixth generation of the TAN School and WANG Peiyu, a renowned female performer of Sheng Role from the YU School also joined the shows, rendering the commemoration more remarkable. On the night of December 8th, MEI Baojiu, along with his disciples like HU Wenge, sang arias for the audience. Later, he held a ceremony to mark the admission of LIAN Wenqing from Shanghai Opera School as his new disciple.
Through the two shows, Shanghai Opera School aims to commemorate and pay tribute to MEI Lanfang. Let’s cherish the precious memory the great master left us through the classic.
Artist Mei Baojiu giving a speech
Mei Baojiu taking in disciples