“Culture Tour of Beijing Opera” Master Forum Featuring Du Zhenjie and Zhang Huifang on the Inheritance and Development of Beijing Opera


On September 27th, the event “Culture Tour of Beijing Opera” Master Forum Featuring Du Zhenjie and Zhang Huifang was held at No.154 Courtyard of Di’anmen. At the event, two celebrated Beijing Opera artists shared their life of learning and performing Beijing opera art. They talked about the distinctive features of Beijing Opera performance, explained to the audience the beauty of Beijing Opera art, and presented a whole picture of Beijing Opera performers both on and off stage.

The Deep “Beijing Opera Complex”: Celebrated Artists Talking about the Inheritance and Development of Beijing Opera 

Two leading performers from Jingju Theater Company of Beijing were invited to the “Culture Tour of Beijing Opera” Master Forum to share their insights on-site. Du Zhenjie, a national first-class actor and representative inheritor of Beijing Opera as an intangible cultural heritage of Beijing, is specialized in playing laosheng (aged male role), following the traditions of Yang Baosen, Yu Shuyan and Ma Lianliang schools. He sings with a mellow and resonating voice, with handsome stage appearance, and natural and polished performance techniques. Zhang Huifang, a national first-class actress of Jingju Theater Company of Beijing, is specialized in qingyi (dignified female role), following the traditions of Mei Lanfang school. She sings with a mellow and full voice with strong appeal, and performs with a dignified style typical of a master artist. At the event, the two celebrated Beijing Opera artists talked freely about their personal artistic life, about the male and female roles they specialized in respectively, as well as the cooperation between and innovation of the two roles, to let more people understand how to appreciate and discover the charm of Beijing Opera. Over the years, the two artists have worked together and supported each other in their artistic careers. The “Beijing Opera Complex” manifested throughout their career was deeply touching for the audience.

Du Zhenjie said, “as a Beijing Opera performer, we should not only present wonderful performances to theater-goers, but also spread Beijing Opera art through various channels and forms as a way to carry on Chinese traditional culture and art. I was invited to “Culture Tour of Beijing Opera” Master Forum, hoping to help everyone better understand and appreciate Beijing Opera with all its artistic charm. At the same time, through my own stage experience over the years and my personal experience in learning Beijing Opera, I’d like to share my feelings and thoughts about Beijing Opera with the audience in an impromptu way. ”

Zhang Huifang has won many important awards including the “Plum Performance Award”, but she never regards Beijing Opera as a kind of “skilled work”. She said, “I know every movement on the stage by heart, and can perform it as accurately as a conditioned reflex without thinking. But even though I have performed a thousand times, I treat the movements as seriously as if it was my first time on stage.” In her eyes, the characters on stage are all important in their own ways, and she always treats the audience off stage equally as well. Whenever she is, she will “pay attention to the tiniest details” , which is a way of showing respect for the audience and the art of Beijing Opera itself.

In addition to onsite discussion, the two artists also sang selected sections of Beijing Opera on stage, accompanied by the specially invited Jinghu player Ai Bing and drummer Liu Yang. The audience was fascinated and completely lost in the paradise of Beijing Opera.

“Culture Tour of Beijing Opera Experience Center” started construction, with the vision of becoming a new culture & tourism landmark in the northern section of the “Beijing Central Axis”

“Culture Tour of Beijing Opera Experience Center” Di’anmen Experience Center, situated beside Wanning Bridge, No.154 Di’anmenwai Dajie, Beijing, is uniquely positioned uniquely along Beijing’s central axis. Capitalizing on the cultural heritage of Beijing’s central axis, it is of great significance to establish a Beijing Opera cultural space and experience center in Di’anmen area so as to help keep the art alive and thriving. The experience center will strive to become a new culture & tourism attraction in the northern section of the “central axis” in the future. At present, the experience center is under construction, and will be built into a diversified space of Beijing Opera culture, in a bid to tap the cultural potential of Chinese opera art represented by Beijing Opera, and promote cultural prosperity and enhance cultural self-confidence among the Chinese people.

“Culture Tour of Beijing Opera” is a signature project launched by the Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchanges Center for the 230th anniversary of Huiban’s entry into Beijing in 2020. In the planning of the year-round event, importance is given to the characteristics of Beijing Opera from multiple angles, in a bid to promote Beijing Opera culture in an all-round way through the unique charms of this national treasure. In 2022, under the “Culture Tour of Beijing Opera” series, various events including the “Master Forum—Appreciating the Beauty of Dan Role in Beijing Opera with Celebrated Artist Wang Rongrong”, “The Beauty of Chinese Opera Costume—Exploring Beijing Opera Costume Factory”, “Bravo to Beijing—Culture Tour of Beijing Opera CIFTIS Special Event" and "The Beauty of Cycling Shougang”. This event was hosted by Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchanges Center under the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism, and organized by Beijing Poly Theatre Management Co., Ltd.