Chinese Opera in Contemporary Taiwan: Wei Hai Min 魏海敏 and Her Personae
Wei Hai Min 魏海敏
The Duke Asian/Pacific Studies Institute and the Taiwan Studies Working Group present a special Autumn Moon event with world renowned Peking Opera diva Wei Hai Min.
Wei will lecture on and demonstrate artistic features of Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang's "Dan" opera performance, and reflect upon her own career as an opera performer of the Mei tradition in today's Taiwan.
Drawing from her own renowned performances from the traditional repertoire, as well as in cross-cultural adaptations as Lady Macbeth in The City of Desire, as Medea in Woman from Loulan, and Qiqiao in Eileen Chang's The Story of the Golden Lock and others, Wei's master class allows us to learn about Chinese opera from one of its leading practitioners, while introducing Taiwan's vibrant culture of contemporary theater.
Lecture and demonstration: Wei Hai Min
Moderation/interpretation: Eileen Cheng-yin Chow
Reception to follow the talk/performance.
About the artist: An internationally renowned performing artist, Wei Hai Min is an heir of the Mei School established by Mei Lanfang and the lead actor of GuoGuang Opera Company. Wei studied with Zhou Ming-xin in her childhood, with Qin Hui-fen in later years, and with Chen Yongling and Tong Zhiling after graduating from school.
In 1991, Wei became Mei Baojiu’s first official disciple. She has solid training in the Mei School and excels in interpreting and impersonating diverse roles, both ancient and modern, in the Mei School and other performing styles. Her performance is acclaimed by global audiences and art critics. Her repertoire includes Mu Guiying Takes Command, The Drunken Concubine, The White Snake, Return of the Phoenix, and Farewell, My Concubine.
Beyond classical jingju titles, Wei Hai Min amazes the audience with the diverse roles she has created, be they noble, shrewish, or melancholic, Wei impersonates them vividly with grace, flair, and artistic excellence. She not only masters but even redefines the art of jingju performance, bestowing the stage with numerous unforgettable characters. Her masterpieces include The Kingdom of Desire and Medea with the Contemporary Legend Theatre, Wang Shi-fong, The Golden Cangue, Sunlight after Snow, Meng Xiaodong, The Painting of 18 Lohans, and other titles with GuoGuang Opera Company.
In 2009, she collaborated with the American experimental playwright-director Robert Wilson on a solo performance of Orlando. In 2011, she led in Wandering in the Garden, Waking from a Dream, a play adapted from Pai Hsien-yung’s famous short story. In 2021, she worked with the Singaporean director Ong Keng Sen for a solo performance of A Thousand Stages, Yet I Have Never Quite Lived, a groundbreaking, autobiographical piece presenting the interactions between the actor Wei and the characters she creates.
A bright star on stage, Wei has won numerous awards, including the Golden Melody Award (2008), the National Award for Arts (2007), the Plum Blossom Award of Chinese Theatre (1996), the Outstanding Young Person of the World Award (1996), the Best Artist in Asia Award (1993), among others.
She is currently the leading actress of GuoGuang Opera Company and the Contemporary Legend Theatre, and the director of the Wei Hai Min Chinese Opera Foundation. For many years she has given talks in grade schools and colleges and was recently appointed Visiting Professor at Shanghai Theatre Academy. Her endeavors to promote traditional theatre art never wavered.
Wei Hai-Min travels to North America as a 2023 Asian Cultural Council Fellow.
Parking information for visitors
The Rubenstein Arts Center does not have a dedicated parking lot. Visitor parking is available for $2/hour in pay-by-space lots in several locations near the Rubenstein Arts Center, including:
- The Campus Drive lot, located at the corner of Campus Drive and Anderson Street, is directly across the street. Visitors may park in this lot on weekends (after 5pm Friday through Sunday evening) with a valid Duke parking permit or via the PayByPhone app or by calling 866-234-7275 (location #3121).
- The Nasher Museum of Art, located at 2001 Campus Drive, has a pay-by-space lot with both kiosks and PayByPhone.
- Sarah P Duke Gardens, located at 420 Anderson Street, has a pay-by-space lot with both kiosks and PayByPhone.
- There is also limited free street parking along Alexander Avenue and Oregon Street (less than a five-minute walk from the arts center).
Event is co-sponsored by APSI, the AMES Critical Asian Humanities Taiwan Studies Working Group, Sinotheory, and the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation Inter-University Center for Sinological Studies.