Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Thursday, September 14, at 8:00 p.m., Jamie H. J. Guan will give a demonstration/performance of four segments from the Beijing Opera Havoc in Heaven. The performance, presented by the Theater program at Bard College, in cooperation with Asian Studies and Bard in China, is free and open to the public and will take place in Olin Hall, Bard College.

Beijing (Peking) Opera is a vigorous form of theater that combines acrobatics, operatic singing, historic theater, humor, mime, ballet, and martial arts with sumptuous costumes and elaborate makeup. In this demonstration/performance, Guan will portray the character of the Monkey King, one of the most widely loved of China's mythological heroes. He will explain the history, training, costumes, and elaborate facial makeup of the opera while preparing himself onstage for the role of the Monkey King. Guan will then perform four excerpts from Havoc in Heaven with the assistance of Scott Parker as Heaven's Warrior.

Jamie H. J. Guan began his opera training at age ten when he entered the Institute for the Performing Arts in Beijing. Following his graduation eight years later, he was invited to join Beijing Opera Troupe Number 1. As a member of that troupe for fifteen years, Guan specialized in wu sheng (martial-arts warrior) roles, appearing on stage and in film and television and touring internationally in traditional repertoire as well as model operas, such as Sha Jia Bang, under the direction of Jiang Qing, the wife of Mao Ze-dong. Since 1984, Guan has lived in the United States and has choreographed numerous productions for theater including The Woman Warrior and M. Butterfly, on Broadway, for which he provided Peking Opera training for cast members, arranged musical segments, assisted with costume design, performed, and served as the general "China consultant." In addition, he has given workshops and special performances at schools, universities, museums, and theaters.

Prior to his public performance on Thursday, Guan will lead two forty-five minute workshops with students from Bard's theater program, as well as students in the dance and Asian Studies program. He will introduce the participants to the history and characteristics of Beijing Opera, and will instruct them in specific movements of the opera.

Additional Bard in China events for the fall include a Chinese film series in the Weis Cinema at the Bertelsmann Campus Center on October 2, 3, and 4 at 7:00 p.m.; a panel discussion on Buddhism and Confucianism led by Brad Clough, assistant professor of religion and Asian studies at Bard College, and Brian van Norden, professor of philosophy at Vassar College, on Monday, October 16, at 7:30 p.m., in Room 115 of the Olin Language Center; and a talk by Chris Coggins, professor of geography at Simon's Rock College of Bard, on his fieldwork in Fujian's sacred forests, the wildlife preserves of China, on Monday, October 30, at 4:00 p.m., in Room 115 of the Olin Language Center.

Bard in China, established at Bard College in April 2000, is expanding existing opportunities to learn about and from China through academic exchanges and cultural events. This year, two young Americans from Bard are teaching English at a high school in China and in schools throughout the county of Chong Ming, an island near Shanghai. Events planned for the spring at Bard College include a concert of traditional Chinese music, presentations by historians, and a panel of well-known Chinese novelists. The season will also include get-togethers of students from China and students of Chinese, for mutual enjoyment and support. Future plans involve contemporary art, electronic music, economics, and environmental studies.

For more information about the events and the Bard in China Program, call Katherine

Gould-Martin at 845-758-7388; or e-mail

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001