China Music Group



Peking Opera

Mei Lanfang

Mei Lanfang

A Peking Opera legend, Mei Lanfang (1894-1961) remains a household name in China. Born into a family of Peking Opera and Kunqu performers, Mei began studying Peking opera at the age of eight. After being told by his teacher that he held little career promise due to his lackluster eyes, Mei practiced his eyes persistently and managed to make them look bright, keen, and highly expressive. A master of singing, dancing, and acting, Mei rose to national fame before the age of 20. A highly accomplished female impersonator, Mei performed almost all kinds of the Dan (female) roles, ranging from Qingyi (graceful female roles) to Huadan (vivacious young female roles). In his 50-year stage life, Mei played over 100 characters in the Peking Opera repertoire. Mei's effortless, perfectly timed, self-assured style has come to be known as the "Mei School." Mei was accredited as the first artist to introduce Peking Opera to an overseas audience. Mei's exotic but exquisite performance won him great acclamation abroad (like the US). A virtuoso of Peking Opera, Mei also wrote many new Peking Opera plays.

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