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Elliot Norton Reviews; Peking Opera


Preservation Dub from 2” Master ; transferred 8/27/99

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Elliot Norton Reviews
Peking Opera
Program Number


Series Description

Boston theatre critic Elliot Norton interviews prominent actors, directors and producers on their craft. (Aired from October, 1958 to 1982. Winner of both Peabody and Tony Awards.) Series release date: 1958

Program Description

Elliot Norton interviews performer Zhao Yianxia, company liaison Gerald Wen, and producer Sheldon Gold about their production of Peking Opera at the Shubert Theater. In the show, there are three acts of mime, spectacle, comic-acrobatics, singing and an onstage orchestra. Gold talks about how Peking Opera is a generic name for a form of theater played in many theaters in China. He discusses the process of bringing over the best Peking Opera performers from different units China. Yianxia talks about her life in China and how she began performing at the age of eight, coming from a long tradition of performing in her family. She says that it is ordinary in China for performers to come from a family of performers. During the Cultural Revolution, however, she was forced to work in the fields and do masonry work, all the while not being allowed to perform. Gold talks about the government is involved in the theaters. Each unit is autonomous, but is subsidized by the government. He had to make the financial arrangements for the transferal of actors through the government, negotiating with the China Performing Arts Agency. He says that now China is looking for a broad cultural exchange with the U.S. They talk about American plays coming to China on the other side of the cultural exchange.

Yianxia talks about how the audiences reacted similarly to the performances in the U.S. and in China. Sheldon and Wen talk about how they cut and adapted the play to appeal to the U.S. audience and give them a good sampling of Peking Opera. Gold talks about the tradition of the Peking Opera, including the Monkey King and the Jade Bracelet. They talk about the training for the opera, which is done in a school attached to the theater. Gold talks about the immediate restoration of the theater after its ban during the Cultural Revolution.

Director: Joanna Lu. Taped 10/23/1980.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Talk Show
Performing Arts
Chicago: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Peking Opera,” 10/28/1980, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 16, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_EE59F340A954482F9500E6480437EF03.
MLA: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Peking Opera.” 10/28/1980. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 16, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_EE59F340A954482F9500E6480437EF03>.
APA: Elliot Norton Reviews; Peking Opera. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_EE59F340A954482F9500E6480437EF03
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