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Exclusive interview with Mei on father's Peking Opera legacy


04-25-2016 14:28 BJT

Full coverage: Peking Opera Master Mei Baojiu Passes Away

Back in 2014, Mei Baojiu led the Beijing Peking Opera Theater troupe to the US for a series of performances to celebrate his father’s 120th anniversary. From our archives, we have for you the interview he gave to CCTV before he left. He talked to reporter Fei Ye about his father's legacy, and his determination to make the art thrive for future generations.

Exclusive interview with Mei on father

Exclusive interview with Mei on father's Peking Opera legacy

Q1. Mr. Mei thank you for your time. This year we are celebrating your father’s 120th anniversary. What does it mean for you and your family?

A1. These events have been organized to carry on his legacy. I want this art to continue the way I learned it, acted it, and taught it to my students and now present it to the world.

Q2. You yourself have been promoting Peking Opera all your life and at 80 years of age you are still traveling around the world. Can you tell us what keeps you going?

A2. Well, I’m still healthy and can still move around fairly easily. My father was always so dedicated to his art, always welcoming foreign guests to our home, always finding opportunities to teach foreigners about this beautiful artform. I want to follow in his footsteps; do practical things and try to teach as many students as I can.

Q3. Mei Lanfang wasn’t just your father but was also a teacher. Can you talk to us about the different roles he played in your life?

A3. He was a strict but loving father. He never used force to teach me things. After performances, he would point out problems and then always try to inspire me. He was also a very curious person taking up hobbies in many different fields of Chinese traditional art, like painting and he loved listening to western operas and classical music. He tried to teach me a variety of different genres of art as well, so that I got a comprehensive understanding of the artistic world.

Q4. What’s the legacy you would like to leave behind for the next generation?

A4. My one and only job is to make sure that the Mei Lanfang School will be passed down and thrive for another generation. This is what I want people to remember me for.

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