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Famous Artists, Wonderful Performances

Li infused traditional plays such as "The Devine Lotus Lantern" and "Xie Yaohuan" with her own thinking and new ideas. Li has played characters including Li Qingzhao, a famous female writer of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and Yang Kaihui, the first wife of Mao Zedong.

Her representative works include "Qing Xianglian," "Farewell My Concubine," "The Red Lantern," and "The Devine Lotus Lantern."

Pei Yanling

Pei Yanling, vice chairwoman of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and Chinese Theatre Association, is a state first-class actress and two-time Plum-Blossom winner. Pei was born into an old and well-known family of Peking opera artists in Hebei Pronvince 1947. In 1956, she began her career at Hebei Lingshou Peking Opera Company and transferred to Hebei Bangzi Opera Troup of Hebei Province in 1960. In 1985, she became the honorary president of the company. In 1997, Pei led her own troupe, the Pei Yanling Troup in the Hebei Peking Opera Company, and served also as the honorary president of the Hebei Peking Opera Company, of which she became president in 2004.

Pei Yanling is an all-round actress able to perform in Peking opera, Kunqu, and Bangzi opera, with good singing, acting and kung fu skills. Since she first got on the stage, Pei has played Lin Chong in "Lin Chong on the Run," Chen Xiang in "The Devine Lotus Lantern," Zhong Kui in "Zhong Kui," Wu Song in "Wu Song," and even the monkey in "The Journey to the West." Her works "The Devine Lotus Lantern," "Nezha Conquers the Dragon King," and "Zhong Kui," have been adapted into color films. In the 1960s, Pei used to perform for the central leaders like Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De and Zhou Enlai, and received warm greetings from them.

Brief Introduction to Peking opera "Farewell My Concubine"

The play tells the story of Xiang Yu (232-202 B.C.), the self-styled "Overlord of Western Chu" who battled for the unification of China with Liu Bang, the eventual founder of the powerful Han Dynasty. In the play, Xiang Yu is surrounded by Liu Bang's forces and is on the verge of total defeat, so he calls forth his horse and begs it to run away for the sake of its own safety. Against his wishes, the horse refuses. He then calls for the company of his favorite concubine, Yu Ji. Realizing the dire situation that has befallen them, she begs to die alongside her master, but he strongly refuses this wish. Later, while he is distracted, Yu Ji commits suicide with Xiang Yu's own sword.

Author: Wang Yuan

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