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The Four Famous Dan - Cheng Yanqiu

Cheng Yanqiu,Dan,Peking Opera

Cheng Yanqiu, 1904-1958, male, former name Chenglin, courtesy name Yanqiu, literary name Yushuang, one of the four top performers in female characters.

Cheng was born into a Manchu family in Peking. His family declined when he was very young, and he started learning from Rong Diexian and Rong Chunsheng as martial roles. However, because of his great looks and extraordinary voice, he changed to study "Qingyi". His debut at the age of 11 was in Dangui Garden, casting Sangyuanjizi, Yuanmenzhanzi, Zhushazhi, with many famous artists then such as Fu Rongcao, Liu Hongsheng, and Sun Juxian.

In 1917, he could not go on with his performance out of the problem of throat and was helped by Luo Yinggong who supported him financially and taught him calligraphy, painting, Chinese poems and movies, which improved his artistic level and background, as well as fully prepared for the later development. During the time, he studied after Mei Lanfang, and enjoyed the tutoring of Wang Yaoqing. In the meantime, Luo also instructed him to read literature and to appreciate other types of art. In 1922, it was his first visit to Shanghai and the city was crazy for his performance.
The period between 1925 and 1938 is a mature for him and the unique Cheng's style. He was the writer, director and actor, and became a substantially significant artist.

After that, he had his attention focused on tragedy. Cheng cast in Qingshuang Sword, Dou'e, then the Green Jade Pin, Mei Fei, and his performance in these plays is a climax of tragedy opera. From then on, Cheng was considered the No.1 in casting female leading characters in tragedies.

Of course, Cheng's talents are not limited to tragedy. One of his comic opera Suolinnang is also very popular. Cheng was very inventive in the artistic work. In addition, he created a unique way of singing, which is halted for several seconds and then restart--the lingering is based on his own voice condition. The characters he performed are elegant and graceful, just like a white chrysanthemum flower, which lively characterizes his literary name, serene and beautiful.

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