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The Confucius Institute at Texas A&M University sponsored a Beijing Opera mini-tour

- Released on Dec 01, 2008

College Station- TX The Confucius Institute at Texas A&M University sponsored a Beijing Opera minitour, reaching audiences of hundreds with eight performances in the Brazos Valley during the week of November 17-22. The tour included presentations at local schools, guest lectures at Texas A&M University, and performances at the Brazos Valley Worldfest. The performers, Ghaffar Pourazar and Chie Morimura, are from the International Center for Beijing Opera in Beijing, China. The International Center for Beijing Opera is noteworthy for its efforts to bring the timeless skills and elegance of Beijing Opera to international audiences. Fouth and fifth grade students and teachers attended a performance at Pebble Creek Elementary School in College Station. Teachers remarked that the students rarely were so attentive at programs, and were grateful for the Confucius Institute’s role in bringing the performance to the school. An additional performance before students, parents, and teachers at Bryan’s St. Joseph Catholic School hosted an audience of over one hundred participants. A Friday performance in the Navasota Junior High gymnasium drew more than 800 students, including Navasota junior high students, fifth graders from Navasota Intermediate School and 50 high school students enrolled in the distance-education Mandarin Chinese class offered through the Confucius Institute at Texas A&M. These 50 high school students, from Navasota and the outlying towns of Splendora and New Caney, are participants in an innovative, long-distance Chinese language class. The performance provided an opportunity for these distance-learners to come together in one place to experience and discuss Chinese arts. Beijing Opera performers Pourazar and Morimura led a discussion session after the performance with the high school language students. The visiting artists also conducted a mini-residency at Texas A&M University. Hosted by the Department of Performance Studies, the duo presented lectures to classes on the techniques and aesthetics of Beijing Opera compared to other forms of Asian performance. “We are so grateful for the opportunity to share demonstrations of Beijing Opera techniques with our students, who would otherwise not have the opportunity,” said Judith Hamera, Chair of the Department of Performance Studies. “This is a wonderful way to explore intersections between music and theatre, and to expose our students to an important and enduring mode of performance.” As a part of the mini-residency, Pourazar and Morimura also presented The Autumn River, a classic romantic comedy, to more than 125 residents of the Texas A&M University Apartments. As the final part of their stay in the Brazos Valley, the duo performed The Monkey King at the Brazos Valley Worldfest on Nov 22 for an audience of more than 200 and then strolled in full costume and makeup through the festival, posing for photographs with some of the more than 6,000 Worldfest participants. “Beijing Opera is a very important part of Chinese culture,” said Dr. Randy Kluver, the director of Confucius Institute and Institute for Pacific Asia. “We are delighted to introduce this significant part of Chinese culture to our increasingly diverse campus and community.”