Love at the First Sight, BBOA’s Annual Performance Introduces Beijing Opera to New Fans in Boston

By David Li,, photos by Bo Yang

In the evening of October 7, Boston Beijing Opera Association (BBOA) presented its annual performance at Cambridge Family YMCA Theater. About 300 people showed up and cheered and applauded loudly for the wonderful performances one after another.

In a letter to congratulate this special performance, Gov. Patrick wrote: “Beijing Opera is a wonderful treasure of the Chinese people and Chinese culture. It is also among the best artistic accomplishments by cultures in the world. We thank you for continuing to bring this magnificent art to the people of the Commonwealth. It helps people in our communities learn and appreciate the ancient art and culture of China.”

Founded in January 2007, BBOA currently has more than 25 active members, and holds routine practices each week. BBOA has provided performances, presentations and workshops on need basis in the past five years, which also brought us lots of friends and collaborators, such as Beijing Association of Boston, Xiyanghong Senior Activity Center, Boston Children’s Museum, the Greater Boston Chinese Culture Association(GBCCA), Acton Chinese Language School(ACLS) and etc.

In this year’s performance, audience not only enjoyed classical Beijing Opera programs, but also guest performances that featured the best of Chinese and Western music, such as erhu, guzheng and saxophone performances by well-known musicians Hongwei Gao, Hui Weng and Pei Yin.

Two of the best young musicians in the Boston area: Hui Weng and Pei Yin, performed instrumental ensemble Palace of the Moon, which is a unique piece that combines the beautiful sound of guzheng (Chinese zither) and Jazz spirit of saxophone.

Soprano Jing Wei also performed Italian Opera “O mio babbino caro” (“Oh My Beloved Father”). Ms. Wei studied at Xian Conservatory and the Central Conservatory in Beijing as a student of famous Soprano Guo Shuzhen. After coming to the US, she studied at Mercyhurst College and Boston University, where she was a student of Phyllies Curtin. Ms. Wei has appeared as a soloist in many concerts, including the Stars from the Metropolitan Opera of New York Opera, at the Winner’s concert in Lincoln Center. She is active performer in the New England area and has a thriving voice studio in Boston.

The last performance on the night was the Sightseeing in the West Lake scene from the well-known drama: Legend of the White Snake, performed by Ronghua Wang, Huiyuan Zhu, Weishan Liu and Tony Chen. According to the legend, transformed from snakes into human beings, Lady White Snake was accompanied by her maid, the Blue Snake, to the beautiful West Lake to sample the joy of the human world. Due to sudden rain in the early spring, they met Xu Xian, a young man who kindly lent his only umbrella to them. When they took shelter from the rain, Lady White Snake and Xu Xian fell in love with each other. In order to create a chance to meet again, Lady White Snake used magic power to let the rain continue and borrowed Xu Xian’s umbrella. Xu Xian promised t visit Lade White Snake’s home to take the umbrella back the next day.

Sightseeing in the West Lake is a story of love at the first sight. For some people in the audience who saw live performances of Beijing Opera for the first time, many of them fell in love with this beautiful art form.