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Greek classic reinvented at Peking University – with a Chinese flavor
Jun 02, 2024
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Peking University, June 2, 2024: On the evening of May 25, the Beijing Hebei Opera Troupe delivered a captivating rendition of "Medea" at Peking University Hall. Performers Wang Hongling and Wang Ying, both recipients of China’s prestigious Plum Performance Award, joined forces with several young actors to present a heart-wrenching tragic tale of destiny. 

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The performance, which blended the traditional Chinese art form with Western classics, received a warm welcome from the audience.

"Medea," created by Italian composer Luigi Cherubini and first presented in Paris in 1797, tells the tragic story of an abandoned wife who murders her children. The Hebei Bangzi Opera version, composed in 1989, has been staged 100 times in Western countries. This adaptation features kung fu and provides detailed depictions of Medea's sadness and desperation.

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At Peking University Hall, the actors’ outstanding performances won thunderous applause. The magnificent scenes, sharp fights, and painful cries conveyed the core essence of "the tragedy of life." The incredible performance of "Medea" not only showcased the artistic finesse of Hebei Bangzi but also highlighted the deep fusion of Chinese and Western theatrical cultures.

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Luo Jinlun interprets classical operas at Peking University

"There are both similarities and differences between Chinese and Western theater in terms of presentation methods, stage forms, and cultural connotations," said Luo Jinlun, a professor at the Central Academy of Drama, during a lecture at Peking University, "Ancient Greek drama is characterized by simplicity and solemnity, while Chinese opera is famous for its pictorial, symbolic, and virtual forms.”

Written by: Sun Yiwei
Edited by: Dennis Meng
Photos by: Yi Diya, Shang Shibo