Hua Wen-yi, Tsai Cheng-jen demon­strate Kun Opera

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY HSUAN CHUNG- WEN

Chi­nese Kun Opera ( ), which is listed by the United Na­tions as a hu­man her­itage trea­sure, re­cently blos­somed in Taipei. Two top con­tem­po­rary Kun Opera per­form­ers Hua Wen-yi ( ) and Tsai Cheng-jen ( ) were in­vited by Na­tional Tai­wan Univer­sity (NTU) to give lec­tures and demon­stra­tions to NTU stu­dents and the gen­eral public.

Hua is con­sid­ered the “Queen of Kun Opera,” and she was the re­cip­i­ent of nu­mer­ous artist awards over the past decades. In 1997, the U.S. gov­ern­ment pre­sented her with the Top Tra­di­tional Artist Award. In ad­di­tion, she has re­ceived the Peo­ples’ Re­pub­lic of China’s Per­form­ing Art Award, Chi­nese Best Tele­vi­sion Per­form­ing Art Award, and the top Plum Blos­som Award for per­form­ing artists.

When she was ten years old, out of six thou­sand boys and girls who took the en­trance ex­am­i­na­tion held by the Shang­hai Opera School, she emerged as one of the few dozen who passed the exam. She was then cul­ti­vated by opera mas­ters, such as Mei Lan-fang, Yu Cheng-fei ( ), Yen Hui-chu ( ), Chu Chuan-ming ( ) and many other great Pek­ing Opera and Kun Opera teach­ers. Mei Lan-fang was im­pressed by her tal­ent in Chi­nese opera, and even ac­knowl­edged her as his young Kun Opera suc­ces­sor. Since then, the au­di­ence called Hua Lit­tle Mei Lan-fang.

In 1985, Hua was as­signed as the di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai Kun Opera Troupe by the Shang­hai Cul­ture Bureau. In 1989, her troupe went to the U.S. to per­form, and she be­came tired of the di­rec­tor’s heavy duty to han­dle com­pli­cated and cum­ber­some things. She re­signed the di­rec­tor­ship and re­quested to stay in the U.S. to re­search per­form­ing arts for one year, but her re­quest was de­nied by the author­i­ties in China. How­ever, she de­cided to stay in the U.S. any­way, which caused great tur­bu­lence for the

Chi­nese author­i­ties.

Meet­ing Main­land Lead­ers

Af­ter seven years, in 1996, she was al­lowed to re­turn to China. Even Premier Chu Yun- ke (

) and Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Chen Chi-li ( ) re­ceived her and praised her achieve­ments in Kun Opera per­for­mance. She was pre­sented with the High­est Honor Award by the Peo­ples’ Re­pub­lic of China Cul­ture Depart­ment.

This time at Na­tional Tai­wan Univer­sity, the au­di­to­rium was packed with stu­dents and mem­bers of the gen­eral public to lis­ten to Hua and Tsai’s Kun Opera lec­ture. Af­ter the lec­ture was over, there was a long line wait­ing to have photos taken with Hua. Af­ter a while, she no­ticed that there was a male stu­dent sit­ting in the wheel­chair. Since the plat­form was too high for the wheel­chair, Hua stepped down, walked over to him, and said: “I would like to have a pic­ture with you.” This was the only pic­ture taken that day with her fan sit­ting while she

was stand­ing.

Per­for­mance at NTU

The other guest lec­turer at the NTU event was Tsai Cheng-jen. He was the Shang­hai Kun Opera Troupe di­rec­tor for 18 years and the vice pres­i­dent of main­land China’s Per­form­ing Arts As­so­ci­a­tion. He started to learn Kun Opera when he was ten years old, at the Shang­hai Opera School with the Kun Opera mas­ters Chou Chuanchi ( ), Chou Chuan-ying (

), Yu Cheng-fei and Pek­ing Opera master Chi­ang Miao-shang ( ).

Tsai spe­cial­izes in per­form­ing the young male high-rank­ing of­fi­cer role ( ). He can make the fa­mous Tang poet Lee Pai ( ) and the pas­sion­ate Tang Em­peror Hsuan (

) reborn on the stage. The Kun Opera master Yu Cheng-fei treated Tsai as his own son and suc­ces­sor.

Tsai has re­ceived many out­stand­ing awards from China and abroad. He has led the Shang­hai Kun Opera Troupe to per­form in the U.S., France, Ger­many, Ja­pan, Hong Kong and Tai­wan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.