The "An Immersive Experience with Peking Opera and Other Forms of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage" event was held at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center on the evening of March 14.
The Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality jointly invited nearly 140 diplomats and their spouses from 83 diplomatic missions from countries including the United Kingdom, Russia, and Austria to experience the charm of traditional Chinese culture by watching Peking Opera - the quintessence of Chinese culture, watching the display of intangible cultural heritage, and tasting Beijing's special snacks.
Immersive experience with Peking Opera - the quintessence of Chinese culture
Outstanding performing artists from the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing performed classic excerpts from four Peking Opera highlights - Crossroads, Autumn River, An Uproar in Heaven, and The Drunken Beauty. To help them better understand this quintessence of Chinese culture, the diplomats were given a pre-performance overview of the performance styles of different schools and roles, as well as how the message is conveyed through facial makeup, costumes, and props. During the show, the authentic opera performance received ovations from the diplomats.
Immersive experience with intangible cultural heritage
Eight opera-related intangible cultural heritage items were selected for demonstration, such as the Opera Headpieces, Clay Painting Mask, Beijing Internal Drawing Snuff Bottle, and Ching Hu. With the inheritors' detailed explanation, the diplomats showed a keen interest and asked questions from time to time about the raw materials and production processes. Some even picked up a brush and tried to draw a mask themselves.
Although the performance was over, the diplomats didn't want to leave. They even went up on stage to interact with the performers, learning how to dress up in costumes, paint facial makeup, and move hands like the performers.
Praise from diplomats
Farhod Arziev, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to China: I would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Beijing Foreign Affairs Office for organizing this event. The impressive performance fully demonstrated China's rich and splendid history and culture.
Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to China: The brilliant performance and the superb artistic skills enabled us to appreciate the unique charm of Peking Opera. Beijing is a vibrant city with a long history and splendid culture. I am looking forward to more equally exciting activities in the future.
Siyabonga Cyprian Cwele, the South African Ambassador to China: The perfect combination of Peking Opera performances and intangible cultural heritage experience tonight was impressive. It showcased the charm of traditional Chinese culture very well. A better understanding of each other's history and culture also helps to promote bilateral economic and trade cooperation.