DiSCOVER: Beijing Opera

The DiSCOVER participants had the opportunity to learn about Beijing Opera from Tina Sun.  Tina comes from a family with a strong Beijing Opera background.  We’re honoured to have Tina share her expertise.

Beijing Opera was known since the late 18th century and it was extremely popular during the Qing dynasty.  Becoming a Beijing Ppera performer is not easy.  It requires a long and strenuous apprenticeship beginning from an early age.

Tina shared the four major roles performers can play – Sheng (生), Dan (旦), Jing (净), Chou (丑).  Characters ending with Sheng is usually male and Dan for females.  Actions are often exaggerated when performing, even if it is just drinking water or fixing your hair in the mirror.  Tina proved that every action is performable.  The participants got to experience themselves on how to over exaggerate every move.

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Unlike Wester style opera, rather than seeking to produce consistent tone quality across the entire voice range by using different resonating areas accordingly, in the Chinese traditional singing style, a vocalist sings principally in the head voice and develops brighter and lighter tones.

With this knowledge, Beijing Opera will be more relevant to the participants during their time in China.

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About the Speaker
Tina Sun is currently the Executive President of the Canada National Peking Opera Institute and Executive Chairman of the North America Chinese Opera Alliance.  She is a member of the China Film Association, as well as the China TV Artists Association. Tina has also performed many times in Canada, and her works have received numerous awards at the provincial and national level in China.

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