Audience members will be mesmerized by a cast of acclaimed performers as Thousand Faces Chinese Opera comes to Pantages Theater in Tacoma on May 13. One of the oldest dramatic art forms, Chinese opera has developed into unique regional styles. It has evolved beyond the tradition of singing and dancing to incorporate skillful visual elements. These include face changing, martial arts, acrobatics and even fire breathing.
Yu Long, who has perfected her craft of face changing over 30 years, explains her art as quick, accurate and beautiful. Spectators might call it magical and mysterious. In face changing, the artist wears a silk face mask to represent a character or emotion. During the performance the mask is changed repeatedly with the slightest movement and imperceptibly to the eyes of the audience.
Long was born and raised in Chengdu, the birthplace of Sichuan opera. She pleaded with officials to allow a woman to study the art of face changing. Previously only men were allowed. Her dedication led to her being recognized by the Chinese government as the only national “female inheritor” of Sichuan opera.
Long will be in impressive company for Thousand Faces Chinese Opera. Joining her are Bole Zhao (赵宝乐), national opera producer and popular host of China’s Opera Channel; China national actors Wenge Hu (胡文阁), the best Mei-style Peking opera performer, and Yi Long (龙毅), a Sichuan opera performer who breathes fire; Shijia Jiang (姜适迦), a well-known Peking opera performer and professor of drama; and Lucy Wu (吴小妹), Peking opera jinghu performer and winner of the China Culture Ministry’s Outstanding Youth Artist Achievement Award. The show will also include demonstrations of calligraphy, painting, tea arts, puppetry and acrobatics.
Thousand Faces Chinese Opera will be performed in Seattle on May 12 and Tacoma on May 13. The performances are sponsored by the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, America Long Yu Chinese Traditional Culture and Face Changing Art Academy, Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, and .
For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Asia Pacific Cultural Center at 253.383.3900 or visit asiapacificculturalcenter.org/chineseopera. by Julie leydelmeyer
Asia Pacific Cultural Center
4851 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA