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August 27, 2004
Centennial of Peking Opera Master Cheng Yan Qiu to be celebrated with costumes exhibit and lecture September 23 to October 10 at Todmorden Mills Museum
The Little Pear Garden Collective in partnership with the City of Toronto
Culture Division presents a tribute to one of the four great masters of the
Peking Opera, Cheng Yan Qiu, from September 23 to October 10 at Todmorden Mills
Heritage Museum and Arts Centre.

The commemorative event entitled "Autumn Melodies: A Centenary Celebration of
Peking Opera Master Cheng Yan Qiu" will consist of special photo and costume
exhibitions, two interactive lecture-demonstrations and two opera performances,
all under the auspices of Toronto Arts Week.

Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum and Arts Centre will host the exhibition
segment of Autumn Melodies from September 23 to October 10, as well as the
lecture-demonstration that will take place at 2 p.m. during the site's Harvest
Festival on September 26. Admission to the exhibition, lecture-demonstration
and Harvest Festival is free.

Featured in the exhibition are archival images of Master Cheng from early youth
to his golden years. Highlights include a private collection of Chinese opera
costumes including hand-embroidered silks, stage jewellery, extravagant
hand-crafted headdresses and unique theatrical shoes used to replicate the look
of traditional "lotus feet."

Master Cheng Yan Qiu (1904-1958) specialized in dan (female) roles and was one
of the most celebrated performers of the Peking Opera of 1920s and '30s.
Although he was nearly six feet tall, audiences were fascinated by his delicate
portrayals of women, particularly in tragedies. He was especially noted for his
brilliance in his use of the flowing "water sleeves" to express many subtle
emotions. Master Cheng's distinctive singing and acting styles have long been
recognized as the Cheng School, a branch of the Peking Opera that features
actors adept at playing tragic female roles.

The Little Pear Garden Collective, founded in 1994, is a
federally-incorporated, not-for-profit arts and cultural organization that
develops and promotes Chinese performing arts in Canada. The group conducts
various events, such as hands-on workshops and live performances, to showcase
Canadian artists and their work as well as present traditional and contemporary
art forms to diverse audiences.

Operated by the City of Toronto Culture Division with assistance from the
Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Tourism, Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum
and Arts Centre is a unique industrial settlement that interprets the
development of early industry in the city.

The site's recently refurbished Paper Mill Gallery, at the entrance to
Todmorden Mills, will host both this spectacular exhibition and the
lecture-demonstration on September 26 at 2 p.m.

For more information about other segments of Autumn Melodies, including the
live performances on October 9 and 10 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre, please
call 416-504-7529. Autumn Melodies is made possible by Canada Council For The
Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and the City of Toronto
Culture Division.

Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum is located at 67 Pottery Rd., west of Broadview
Avenue. For further information, call 416-396-2819 or e-mail

Media contact:
Ulana Baluk, Museums and Heritage Services, 416-338-0492



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