Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Saving Historical Treasures: In New York, Peking Opera Artists Keep a Song in Their Hearts

This article is such a complex of emotion resonance. It makes me feel so grateful to those who struggled for this endangered art. It is no exaggeration to say that I am a Chinese traditional opera aficionado, however I have to witness the recession of such a brilliant ancient art in modern life.

The article says, “Attracting a non-Chinese audience is yet another stumbling block. The biggest challenge…is how to let them know about Peking Opera, understand it, and appreciate its artistry.” The culture block is definitely an obstacle for Peking Opera to step on an international stage, but I would say it needs to be acknowledged by local residents first before it goes international. Few people born after 1980s in China, similar to millennials in the U.S., are sensitive to traditional arts and techniques. In fact, Peking Opera is nearly the “most popular” traditional arts among the young. Inspired by Sara’s post about vinyl records, I am thinking about whether we should lead Peking Opera to represent itself like some vintage culture stuff. It is a graceful old fashion rather than something outdated.

It is also a complicated philosophy for Peking Opera to surmount the culture gap, as there are so many unique cultural symbols and literature contexts. Therefore I am looking forward to seeing more support from organizations instead of merely from these respectable struggling opera artists.

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3 comments on “Saving Historical Treasures: In New York, Peking Opera Artists Keep a Song in Their Hearts

  1. benjamendouglas
    October 22, 2014

    I know almost nothing about Chinese opera, but if there’s something happening in the area, let us know. We should do a group trip!

    I did see bits of “The Peony Pavilion” (1598) when I worked at the Spoleto Festival in 2004. I was incredibly impressed by the intricacy and beauty of the sets and costumes. Since the sound is so different from what we’re used to, it takes a little while for it to grow on you.

    Here’s an old article (sadly no pics) about the performance of “The Peony Pavilion:”

    http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20040420005272/en/Spoleto-Festival-USA-2004-Present-Final-Performances#.VEhqjIvF-0F

    • gaochang619
      October 24, 2014

      I LOVE “The Peony Pavilion”, compared with other operas, it is far more elaborate in costumes, props and so forth. If there’s anything wonderful happening I would like to launch a “NEW OPERA” trip:)
      “The Peony Pavilion” now is refined into a new edition by director Bai Xianyong, who adopted a younger cast, and it is such a successful marketing campaign ever in opera history. Here are some pictures:
      http://www.chinaopera.net/english/catalog.asp?tags=The+Peony+Pavilion

  2. yaoge2016
    October 24, 2014

    There can be numbers of Indian dance performances in DC, whose major audience are Indians and others interested in Indian traditional arts, while Beijing Opera is rarely performed in this area. The situation can derived from the fact that Chinese traditional performance lacks the attention from local residents and even Chinese. The latter reason can be drawn from my own experience of education. In China, young people are not exposed to those traditional arts at all. I even thought they only exist in TVs and textbook, because I have no access to those performance, which is a real pity.

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