Two Beijing Opera performers visited with a group of MMA cadets in September 2019 for a thrilling cultural exchange. The one-hour interactive performance centered around the history and traditions of the Beijing Opera, the most iconic genre of Chinese Opera, as professionals demonstrated through traditional singing, dancing and costume.
At the performance, the company's translator explained the different characters in the opera as those roles were acted out by live performers. Cadets were invited on stage to learn from the performers, and given instructions to act out roles such as riding a horse and being an old man with a long beard.
“I feel it was a fantastic opportunity for our cadets to learn about the Beijing Opera,” Director of MMA Music Department Rob McGrath said. “They got a laugh from the rest of the audience as they tried to act out their roles.”
McGrath also said he believes the experience was a beneficial cultural experience for domestic and international cadets alike.
“It was good for our Chinese cadets to see an arts presentation from their country and to feel proud of their culture,” McGrath added. “For our other cadets, this was a great opportunity to learn about Chinese cultures.”
The Beijing Opera, or Peking Opera, is the most dominant form of Chinese opera which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics. Their elaborate and colorful wardrobe, expressive routine and rich portrayal of Chinese culture made for a truly extraordinary experience.
“We are thankful to former MMA faculty member Wei Xu and The Columbia Friends of China who graciously helped schedule the workshop,” MMA Music Instructor Freddie Lomas said. “The workshop was a profoundly rewarding experience.”