Springfield, Ohio – The acclaimed Hubei Provincial Peking Opera Troupe will present an informal show at 3 p.m. Thursday, March 1, in Wittenberg’s Chakeres Memorial Theatre. Admission to the event is free.
The Hubei Provincial Peking Opera Troupe consists of about 30 members and hails from Hubei Province, Ohio’s sister state in China since 1979. Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed a proclamation recognizing the night of their main performance, Friday, March 2, at Capital University’s Mees Auditorium, to encourage Ohioans to welcome the troupe.
Chinese Opera comes in many different styles. Among the most prominent is Peking Opera, which dates back to the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD). Chinese Opera combines the theatrical elements of poetry, storytelling, singing, music, dance, acrobatics and martial arts. Peking Opera has a heavier emphasis on singing than other Chinese opera forms and eschews magnificent sets in favor of symbolism through its elaborate costumes and intricate movements. All performers must be able to dance, sing and act at the same time, which makes performers the focal point of the stage. Due to time constraints, the Wittenberg performance will not display the distinctive face makeup that is typical of these performances. Makeup is another element that defines this form of opera as a way to show the performers’ character and age.
The troupe will give a short informal performance of excerpts from different operas. In addition, Wittenberg dance students, under the direction of Wittenberg Associate Professor of Dance and Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance Shih-Ming Li Chang, will perform short Western dances, such as hip-hop and tap. After the performance, Wittenberg students will have the opportunity to learn some of the opera dances from the performers. There will be a light reception to allow the audience to interact with the troupe.
Wittenberg is just one stop on the troupe’s Ohio tour, which includes a visit to Ohio State University’s campus and a public high school, in addition to the main performance at Capital.
Written By: Katie Bunsold '18