University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
November 24, 1999
Contact: Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak, chairwoman, UH Department of Theatre
and Dance, phone 956-2597, fax 956-4234
|UH Theatre and Dance chairwoman receives Chinese award
for promotion of Beijing opera|
The National Ministry of Culture in China awarded UH Theatre and Dance Chairwoman Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak the Golden Chrysanthemum Award this year in the Second National Festival of Jinju (Beijing opera). The award, which is equivalent to the American Tony award, was given to Wichmann-Walczak for her collective career efforts in promoting the art of Beijing opera outside of China.
Wichmann-Walczak, who has been an instructor of Asian theatre for more than 20 years, has directed, translated and produced four major Beijing opera performances at Kennedy Theatre, which houses the oldest and largest Asian theatre program outside of Asia. The program brings in master artists from China to provide teaching and training for performers.
Wichmann-Walczak was recently informed that she would be added as an entry in the Encyclopedia of Chinese Theatre because of her contribution to the propagation of Beijing opera. She has won a string of related awards in the past decade and was featured in a variety of Chinese publications. She was also invited to perform two of her Kennedy Theatre Beijing opera productions in various Chinese cities.
"I truly believe it (Beijing opera) is the most complete performing art," Wichmann-Walczak says. "The singing is as rigorous as European opera; the dance as rigorous as ballet; the acting training as intensive as at the Royal Academy in London; and the combat and acrobatics are as demanding as for the Olympics. If you are interested in the professional art of theatre, there's nothing that has more."
As a result of the award Wichmann-Walczak was invited to Washington, D.C., this month as a guest on a Voice of America call-in show called "Culture and the Arts."