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Peking Opera & Kabuki Focus of Pomona College Lectures

An inside look at “Peking Opera and Kabuki: Color, Drama, Meaning” is the subject of a pair of lectures at Pomona College on Wednesday, March 23, at 4 p.m. Sheng Hua, artist and author of The Illustration of Facial Makeup in Peking Opera, will concentrate his lecture on the artistic facial makeup in Peking opera. Pomona College Professor Leonard Pronko, who regularly performs Kabuki, will discuss the art of Kabuki and present a comparison between the two Asian art forms.

Sheng, a distinguished expert in Peking Opera’s facial design and makeup, began his study and training in Peking Opera at the age of twelve. After eight years of strict professional training under well-known masters at China National School of Traditional Opera in Beijing, he performed in many acclaimed operas before devoting himself to the study of facial design and makeup art. Under the austere training of Liu Zengfu, the greatest master in opera makeup art, he achieved enormous success as a master of this art. Sheng has been interviewed about facial makeup art by Hong Kong’s Wen Hui Daily Newspaper, China Daily, Chinese Theatre magazine, CCTV, BTV and many other news media. His publications on facial design and makeup have earned him great recognition and popularity. His artwork is collected by many well-known individuals and artists. A member of Beijing Traditional Art and Literature Masters’ Association, he continues to maintain, create, and innovate the art he loves.

Pronko became the first foreigner to study at the Kabuki training program of the National Theatre of Japan and, in 1986, received the Order of the Sacred Treasure for his work introducing Kabuki to the West. An internationally recognized Kabuki expert, he is the author of Theater East and West (1967) and Guide to Japanese Drama (second edition, 1984), among other publications. He is also a co-editor of Shakespeare East and West (1996). In 1997, he received the Outstanding Teacher of Theatre in Higher Education award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.

The lectures will be held in Pomona’s Hahn Building (Room 101), 420 N. Harvard Ave., Claremont. The event is organized by the Pacific Basin Institute and co-sponsored by Pomona’s Department of Theatre and Dance and the Bernard Chan Visiting Asian Scholars Fund. For more information, call (909) 607-8065.

The Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College is dedicated to expanding and enhancing comity and shared knowledge among the nations and cultures on the Pacific Ocean. A valued study, media production and research center, PBI also offers books, films and lecture programs to a general as well as academic audience. Pomona College has been a leader in Asian Studies among American college and universities since the turn of the past century.