S. Korean ambassador performs in Chinese opera
BEIJING (Yonhap) -- South Korea's envoy to China made a surprise appearance in a performance of the traditional Beijing opera, diplomatic sources said Saturday.
Ambassador Lee Kyu-hyung helped put on the Beijing opera piece "Wujia Po" in a performance held at the official residence of Seoul's top diplomat in the Chinese capital.
The event was hosted by the Beijing opera federation, an informal group within China's foreign ministry that holds regular gatherings to showcase the talents of its members.
Beijing opera is a form of traditional Chinese theater that became popular during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). It combines music, vocal performance, dance, acrobatics and mime and is characterized by elaborate costumes. Many of its works depict famous events in Chinese history and literature.
Lee is a honorary member of the federation after having learned the opera during an earlier assignment at the embassy in the late 1990s.
The envoy said he initially learned the traditional opera so he could learn about Chinese culture to help him in his role as a diplomat, but he has since become an enthusiast.
Embassy sources said that after he was named ambassador in May 2011, he has taken private tutoring from Beijing opera masters to improve his skills.
Former Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan was present at the opera performance and applauded Lee's performance, sources said.