Home About Us News Events Starlets Videos Contact Us chinese

Zhang Yan-Yan

Madam Zhang Yan-Yan was a principal actress at the China National Peking Opera Theatre before 1990. Since nine years old, Madam Zhang had exclusively been selected among competitors by the National Academy of Chinese Opera to be trained in Peking opera and Qunqu Opera arts, music, and dancing. Her teachers were well-known Peking Opera intellectuals. After nine years if academic education and intensive training, she specialized as a performer in the roles of Hua Dan (young lady), Daoma Dan (military lady), and Qing Yi (Virtuous lady). With remarkable Chinese Opera artistic skills in singing, enunciation, acting, martial arts and dancing, she achieved great accomplishments in her performance utilizing her hands gesticulation, eyes expressions, body movement, limbs techniques, and exquisite mannerism. She was the first-ranking graduate from the Academy with Distinction among the first batch collegiate class.

At the same year she was recruited to be a leading actress at the China National Peking Opera Theatre, one of the top opera troupes in the world. Madam Zhang had the honour to perform with several Peking Opera masters like Yuan Shi-Hai, Li Shi-Ji, Du Jing-Fang, Liu Chang-Yu, and others. She also had joint performances with her renowned colleagues including Yu Kui-Zhi, Diao Li, and Wang Rong-Rong and had obtained highly praised appeal as an outstanding artist. On behalf of the Theatre, Madam Zhang had toured performances in many countries around North America, Europe, and South-East Asia. She was very much cherished and adored by oversea audience. In the United States she had been granted an Honorary Deputy Sheriff and Honorary Citizens for her talents and excellent performance. In Japan, there were several honorary awards presented to her by the Japanese Cultural Societies. As well, Madam Zhang had been invited to stage in several Chinese movies and Television Series.

In 1990, Madam Zhang immigrated to Toronto, Canada and was immediately recognized by the local Artists Associations. She was invited by the Department of South-East Asia Arts, University of Toronto, to be a research fellow and to provide key lectures in Peking Opera. For the mainstream media, she had written some articles addressing the Chinese traditional arts and Peking Opera. Being invited to have numerous performances for the Canadian Multicultural and Spring Festivals, Madam Zhang had once been aired on the oversea Peking Opera show for the CCTV (Chinese Central Television) in 1997. Since the formation of the Toronto Chinese Opera Group, Madam Zhang had many leading roles in the classical repertories like "Fighting Heroine Liang Hong Yu", "Heavingly Maiden Scattering Flowers", "Madam Li Hui Liang", "The Drunken Royal Concubine", "The Jade Bracelet", "King Xiang Yu Bids Farewell to His Concubine", and others. She had gracefully acquired distinctive artistic images of different characters.

All these years in Toronto, Madam Zhang had been contributing extensively to the Chinese Opera Communities. Not only she had been consolidating her operatic skills through performance, Madam Zhang had also focused on educating local Cantonese Opera artists exercising her Peking Opera skills. She had in fact opened a new gate to ally and to promote Peking Opera capabilities merging with the local Cantonese Opera community. In this respect she had established local Opera training classes where she successfully enriched Cantonese Opera expressions with Peking Opera aesthetic essence. Her training concentrated on the basic operatic techniques to form a solid foundation for her students.

With ten years hard work, most of the recent popular Cantonese opera artists have been trained by Madam Zhang. Her students consist of, particularly in this show "Legend of the White Snake", Ms. Alice Chan (the "Deer Boy") and Ms. Marianne Lui (the "Crane Boy"), as well as all those performers who will act as the "Heavenly Army" and the "Sea Army". Madam Zhang has really generated a profound effect on the insight of Chinese Opera education, in coaching and inspiring Opera artists, and, in improvement of the Chinese Opera performance techniques as a whole.

Starlight Chinese Opera

Artistic Advisor and Consultant

Director & President

Associate Director and Instructor

Copyright © Starlight Chinese Opera, all rights reserved.    |    Web Design: E IMAGE INC.