A great Beijing Opera performance by China’s Beijing Opera Company, hosted by UCD Confucius Institute, was held on 7 March.
No seats were empty in the auditorium, which can accommodate over 600 people seated. Minister of State Mr. Conor Lenihan met and took pictures with all the performers and staff and students from The Confucius Institute. Attendees included The Chinese Embassy’s Counselors, UCD staff and students, and representatives from local Chinese community.
Dr. Liming Wang, Director of UCD Confucius Institute, welcomed the audience with an address in Mandarin, English and even Irish! He paid tribute to the work of Dr Hwee-San Tan from the School of Music in securing the visit of the company. A brilliant series of performances incorporated several classical Beijing Opera stories, including “Qiu River”, “Wusong at Shizipo Slope”, and “The Birth of The Monkey King”.
The show was fairly different from traditional Beijing Opera performances, in that the Beijing Opera Company offered interpretations of the Mandarin script for the English-speaking audience. The British Monkey King performer, Mr. Ghaffar Pourazar (the first and to date only Westerner to learn the role of the Monkey King with the Beijing Opera), introduced the stories and actors’ lines in English while painting his facial makeup in front of the audience. His humorous interpretation not only let audience completely comprehend the stories, but also supplies great knowledge on the characteristics of Beijing Opera. The marvelous performance was such a great success that the performers received a standing ovation for over 6 minutes. When the show was over, an Irish member of the audience commented that his hands turned red from clapping! For the majority of the audience it was their first time to watch Beijing Opera. They completely fell for this uniquely splendid Chinese art.
The Minister of State gave high praise to Confucius Institute for its dedication and showed that the Irish Government will fully support the culture communication held by UCD Confucius Institute. In addition, he encouraged Irish students to learn the Chinese language and study Chinese culture so as to make a contribution for Sino-Irish friendship and mutual development. After the show, the audience showed their generosity and admiration of this rare Oriental art by spontaneously making much-appreciated donations to the traveling Opera troupe. Detailed reports of the event were carried in much of the Irish media.