China Seminar | 10 October 2002

Taking Jingju (京剧 Peking Opera) to China

Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak

Last November, the China Seminar heard three Chinese jingju artists discuss and demonstrate jingju roles attendant to the performance of “Judge Bao and the Case of Qin Xianglian” in Honolulu in February of this year. Professor Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak, who directed the play and accompanied the artists, then took the opera to a triumphant tour of China in May. She returns to the China Seminar to give an account of “taking Peking opera to Peking.”

Professor of Theatre and Director of the Asian Theatre Program at the University of Hawaii, Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak has a distinguished career in the field. While working on her dissertation, she became the first non-Chinese to perform jingju in China. Since then she has, in addition to numerous publications on the Chinese theatre, translated and directed one modern and three classical jingju plays, two of which went on performance tours of mainland China. The first honorary (first non-Chinese) member of the National Xiqu Institute of the Chinese Theatre Arts Association of Shanghai and of Jiangsu Province, she is recipient of numerous performance and research awards, among which is the Second National Festival of Jingju Golden Chrysanthemum Award for “outstanding achievements in promoting and developing Jingju.”