Wed, Oct 18, 2023

5:30 PM – 7 PM PDT (GMT-7)

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Wei Hai Min is a prominent award-winning jingju actress from Taiwan. Jingju or Beijing opera, the best known genre of Chinese opera, is a form of classical Chinese theatre that integrates singing, speaking, dancing, and acrobatics--what the West calls “total theatre.” As an Asian Cultural Council fellow, Master Wei is on a multi-city North America trip in fall, 2023. In her lecture at UCI, Wei will share her knowledge and expertise of jingju, her negotiation between traditional training and daring experimentations of the art. Her lecture will also include a series of demonstrations: the aria and movements from The Drunken Concubine, a masterpiece perfected by Mei Lanfang, speech and movement as Lady Macbeth from The Kingdom of Desire (Macbeth), and an aria from Medea to show her amazing vocal virtuosity.

Jingju, one of the popular regional forms developed in the late 18th century, became the esteemed “national opera” in the 20th century. Nearly a century ago, Mei Lanfang, a jingju star famous for his exquisite female impersonation, visited the US and met with Hollywood celebrities such as Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin (1930). His 1935 trip to Moscow, meeting Konstantin Stanislavski and Bertold Brecht, had a tremendous impact on Western theatre history. Brecht credited Mei Lanfang as the inspiration for his theory of alienation effect. Wei Hai Min, a child prodigy, started her training in Taiwan in early age and became a star actor of the National GuoGuang Opera Company; she later studied under Mei Baojiu, the son of Mei Lanfang and heir of Mei School acting. Wei is one of the most distinguished Mei School actors in Sinophone world today.

Wei has also devoted herself in jingju innovation in Taiwan since 1980s. She has collaborated with Taiwan’s Contemporary Legend Theater and other groups, as well as renowned directors such as Richard Schechner (Oresteia, 1995) and Robert Wilson (Orlando, 2009).

The event is co-sponsored by Asian Cultural Council, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Center for Asian Studies, and Department of East Asian Studies.

Photo credit: Nicolas Fan

This event is at Winifred Smith Hall, please park at Mesa parking structure and cross the street. You will then see signage showing you where to go from there.

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Illuminations: The Chancellor's Arts & Culture Initiative | Website | View More Events

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