WEI Haimin is a Peking Opera artist and a guest professor at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. She grew up in Taiwan and studied under her predecessors including QIN Huifen, ZHOU Mingxin, BAO Youdie, CHEN Yongling and TONG Zhiling. In 1991, she studied with Mr. MEI Baojiu, becoming the third-generation first disciple of the “MEI School”. Decades of meticulous study of the MEI School’s art makes her excellent in playing Drunken Concubine, Farewell to My Concubine, MU Guiying Takes Command and Regrets of Life and Death. Starting to insist on artistic innovations in the middle 20th century, she is a master soul of the “Peking Opera aesthetics” of Taiwan, and served as the principal performer at the Hai-Kuang Opera Troupe, Shenglan Troupe, Contemporary Legend Theatre and Guoguang Opera Company. Since she started her career as a Peking Opera artist, WEI Haimin has performed more than 200 different genres of works in different styles as different role players, walking freely between the traditional and the newly created. Her main works include The Golden Cangue, WANG Xifeng creates a Tremendous Uproar in the Ningguo Mansion, The Kingdom of Desire, The Girl of Loulan and MENG Xiaodong. In 2009, she had a role in Orlando, a monodrama directed by Robert Wilson.
She gave a performance as a troupe director or a leading artist at the Lincoln Centre, English National Opera, Festival d’Avignon, Wiener Musikverein and San Diego Festival of the Arts. She has won many awards, including the title of the “world’s ten outstanding young persons” with her as the first Chinese woman to win this title, the highest literature and art prize of Taiwan for twice, the Plum Blossom Prize, the Shanghai Magnolia Silver Award for the best actress, the Golden Melody Awards of Taiwan and the title of Chinese cultural figure. She permanently acts as the president of the Taiwan Opera Association, and has published three writings, including Water Sleeves and Rouge, Actress and The Skull and Golden Lock.
Currently she is the principal performer of the Taiwan Guoguang Opera Company and person in charge of the WEI Haimin Peking Opera Art, Culture and Education Foundation.
ZHU Qiang is a national first-class actor at the Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing and an old male role player of the MA (Lianliang) School. He is an intangible cultural heritage inheritor of Beijing City, an expert that enjoys special government allowance from the State Council, and a winner of the May lst Labour Medal of Beijing in 2015. He was a postgraduate student of the first (1996-1999) Chinese Excellent Young Peking Opera Artist Postgraduate Class. He was coached by famous artist of the MA School, including YIN Yueqiao, CHI Jinsheng and MA Chongren, and is the first disciple of famous Peking Opera artist ZHANG Xuejin. He is good at performing Qunjiehua, Auspicious Dragon and Phoenix, Four Gifted Scholars, SU Wu tending the Sheep, Fire Bulls, The Breeze Pavilion and The Carmine Costume. He starred in famous operas of the MA School The Chinese Orphan and QIN Xianglian. He made famous operas of the MA School The Chinese Orphan and QIN Xianglian into films and played a leading role in either one in the Classic Full-scale Peking Opera Film Project. He also participated in the production and rehearsal of new historical dramas such as Prime Minister LIU Luoguo and Rhyme of Courier Pavilion, and creatively performed little-theater experimental Peking Opera Splash Water Before the Horse. At the 2016 China Art Festival, he played ZHOU Enlai in Peking Opera The Xi’an Incident, which won the Wenhua Award. At the 2016 Chinese American Film Festival, he starred in Peking Opera film The Chinese Orphan, which won the best opera film award.
ZHAO Baoxiu is a national first-class actress at the Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing. She was a member of the 10th, 11th and 12th CPPCC National Committee. She graduated from the Peking Opera Art’s College in 1968, taught by Mr. SUN Futing as one of her first teachers. In 1981, she apprenticed herself to Peking Opera artists LI Jinquan and HE Shengqing. She has won awards such as the Plum Performance Award, MEI Lanfang Golden Award, Wenhua Award, Shanghai Magnolia Award and China Gold Record Award. ZHAO Baoxiu is good at building a vivid stage image by creative use of different roles’ features and performing techniques. She is adept at performing many traditional works, including Encounter with the Empress-Beating the Royal Robe, LI Kui Visits His Mother, Tattooed by Mother YUE, Golden Turtle Fishing, Chisang Town, XU’s Mother Reviles CAO Cao and YANG Silang Visits His Mother. She has produced and rearranged many operas with an old female character as the core, including Soup with Eight Delicacies, Gold Tortoise Story, Rise and Fall of Tongrentang and Arrange Banquet in Three Frontier Strongholds. She has enriched and developed the old female role art, forming a distinctive old female role art style of her own, winning herself an honourary title of “No.1 old female role player”, highly respected artist with superb skills and national model for high virtue and virtuosity. ZHAO Baoxiu is devoted to popularizing Peking Opera art. Most of her disciples are principal old female role players at different Peking Opera theatres and troupes. She has full-time and part-time students all over the country and worldwide.
SHANG Huimin is a national first-class actor and intangible cultural heritage inheritor. Born of a family of Peking Opera artists in February 1948, she is the first granddaughter of Peking Opera art master Mr. SHANG Xiaoyun and daughter of famous martial role player SHANG Changchun. SHANG Huimin has a loud and bright voice, a demure appearance in costume and a steady, elegant stage image. She started to learn opera singing with her grandfather SHANG Xiaoyun at 10 and later studied under famous artists of the SHANG School, including SHANG Changlin, SUN Ronghui, WU Suqiu, LI Xihong, DONG Yuling and little ZHAO Xiaolan. She gave many performances nationwide, and has participated in all previous performances in honour of SHANG Xiaoyun. She made a visit to the Czech Republic and other countries, giving a number of shows, winning critical acclaim in 2004, and held a show at the Beijing Chang’an Grand Theater in December 2013 to mark the 55th anniversary of the start of her career as a Peking Opera artist. She also held a show at the Beijing Chang’an Grand Theater in January 2018 and at Mei Lanfang Theatre in December to mark the 60th anniversary of the start of her career as a Peking Opera artist, winning high praise from experts and audiences. Both professionals and laymen think that she has a good mastery of her fathers’ singing and acting styles, namely the performing and singing features of the SHANG School, and excels in singing many demanding arias of different types, especially the arias characterized by singing and acting. Her representative works include The Mirror of Fortune, Sitting in the Palace, Stealing a Token and Giving It Back, full-length The Story of SU San, San Niang Instructs Son, Great National Defense, Back to the Palace, Muke Village, A Red Mane Horse, Fenhe River Bend, Princess Shuangyang and Battle on Jinshan Mountain.
SHANG Huimin is a visiting professor at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts and teacher of the Graduate Class for Excellent Young Peking Opera Artists. She is mainly engaged in the teaching of the SHANG School’s art, and has given lectures at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, China National Peking Opera Company, Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing, Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company, Shenyang Peking Opera Theatre, Hubei Peking Opera Academy, Middle School Affiliated to the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, etc.