The faculty, compromised of a group of outstanding young performers from the Shanghai Hongyimei Peking Opera Troupe and the Shanghai Peking Opera Company, is led by Peking Opera artist Madame Yihong Shi (see below). Based on traditional Chinese aesthetics, the faculty will teach a knowledge- and practice-based curriculum on Peking operatic singing style, recitative, martial/arts acrobatics and other performance skills. Each student will be taught, in small groups, excerpts from famous Peking operas based on one of the four categories of performers: male, female, painted face, and clown (sheng, dan, jing, chou 生，旦，淨，丑). The program runs for five weeks total (see 2021 Schedule). Preparatory work will be conducted on three Saturdays (two 45 minute sessions each Saturday) in May 2021. The lecture, workshops, and tutorials will commence May 31 and finish on June 11, for two weeks.
“Introduction to Peking Opera”
Madame Shi teaches the beauty of Peking opera by playing different roles herself and explaining the unique Chinese aesthetics of Peking opera and analyzing the connection between innovation and tradition.
The teacher will explain in detail the make-up and the process of putting on the hair, head gear, and ornaments of Peking opera roles. Students will learn to draw lines and add colors to their faces.
Apparel and Costuming
Introducing the three different trunks of Peking opera, distinguishing between bureaucrats and generals, the significance of colors and the variety of props. Students will be taught about the complexities of putting on their costumes.
Working in small groups with distinguished Peking actors, students will learn sheng, dan, jing, chou roles. The students can choose their own roles based on interest and with advice from faculty. Based on roles and excerpts, they will experience the different types of operatic performance --‘’singing, speaking, action, and acting” (chang, nian, zuo, biao 唱，唸，做，表).
The male, female, and painted face roles will learn one excerpt with singing and movement.
The clown role will learn the performance and declamation of two excerpts of recitative, emphasizing the difference between the Jingbai 京白 and Yunbai 韻白 ways of speaking.
Xiao He Chasing Han Xin Under the Moonlight 《蕭何月下追韓信》
Master an excerpt singing and performing in the unique Qi School style from the classic opera Chasing. This involves the practice of Peking Opera methods of “practice/imaginary” xuni 虛擬 (expanding space on finite stage) and “process” chengshi 程式 (The operatic distillation of beauty from mundane movements and experiences). The Qi style originated and was developed in Shanghai, so learning this style is essential to understanding Haipai arts 海派藝術 (as in Shang(hai)).
The Drunken Precious Consort 《貴妃醉酒》
Master an excerpt singing and performing in the graceful ways of a female dan from the Mei School style in the classic opera Drunken Consort. The teacher will explain and demonstrate the artistic characteristics of the famous Mei style. The student will experience and learn the graceful and sculptural postures of the female role in Peking Opera.
painted face jing
Muhu Pass 《牧虎關》
Using excerpts from the classic opera Muhu Pass, the student will learn the painted face role. Specifically, students will learn the characteristics “bronze hammer painted face” singing role as well as mastering the “stylistic painted face” performative movements. Learn how to put on the astounding swirling make-up of the painted face actor.
Reporting the Name of the Lantern 《報燈名》 and Jiang Gan Steals a Book《將幹盜書》
The students will learn the role of clown by learning the two types of recitative—Jingbai 京白, speaking akin to reading aloud and Yunbai 韻白, poetic chanting which is closer to song.
On the last day of the program, students will present, either in-person through ZOOM or presenting their video their performance pieces.