Ninety-three years after China Institute sponsored “the Queen of Peking Opera” Mei Lanfang on his historic North American tour and debut in New York on Broadway in 1930, we are honored to welcome Ms. Wei Hai-Min, first disciple of Mei Lanfang’s son Mei Baojiu, to join us on September 20 to carry on the legacy of the Mei School by following Mei Lanfang’s footsteps as a Chinese Opera innovator and educator.
As an internationally renowned performing artist, Ms. Wei seeks to inspire audiences by mastering this ancient art form in both traditional and modern styles, actively exploring new performative horizons. She will share her insights as a leading female role (dan) performer in Peking Opera, and demonstrate three short segments from her production: The Drunken Concubine, The Kingdom of Desire (Macbeth), and Medea.
Wei Hai-Min travels to North America as a 2023 Asian Cultural Council Fellow.
This program is made possible through the support of the Chinese International Education Foundation, and generous supporters of China Institute.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Wei Hai-Min is an heir of the Mei School established by Mei Lanfang and the lead actor of GuoGuang Opera Company. In 1991, Wei became Mei Baojiu’s first official disciple. Her performance is highly 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 Peking Opera 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 Peking Opera 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.