The Spring Festival or Chinese New Year is fast approaching. To mark the occasion, on 17 January 2017 the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre opened its doors to the National Beijing Opera Theater of China. To acquaint Poles with this traditional Chinese dramatic art, the group from the province of Hubei presented selected scenes from several classic Beijing opera works such as Havoc in Heaven, Sylph Scattering Flowers, The Great Wu Sells Pancakes and Three Forked Crossroads, the whole event being accompanied by music played on traditional Chinese instruments.
Beijing opera is one of China’s national cultural treasures and is on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage list. With origins going back 220 years, it links song and dance and uses conventionalised and symbolic means of expression such as the spoken word, song and movement made up of dance and elements representing battle. Colourful costumes, stage make-up and masks are also characteristic. Several types of figure can be distinguished in Beijing opera: sheng (male figures), dan (female figures), jing (warriors), chou (comic figures) and mo (supporting figures). The Beijing opera stage is a symbolic space and its convention is based on the imagination.
The performance took place under the patronage of the Chinese Ministry of Culture, the Chinese Embassy and Consulate General in Poland, and was organised through the cooperation of the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre, the University of Gdańsk and the Confucius Institute at the University of Gdańsk.
Photo: Dawid Linkowski