Xiaosu Zhu, alumnus International Business Law at Leiden Law School

Meeting with alumni is an important aspect of our communication with the world. Catching up with the alumni is always a great pleasure and it is so interesting to see how they have developed both professionally and personally. We spoke with Xiaosu Zhu, alumnus International Business Law at Leiden Law School.

Artist in the Beijing Opera

It is six year since Xiaosu Zhu graduated  from Leiden Law School (International Business Law). Xiaosu Zhu works for a law firm in Shanghai named Watson & Band Law Offices, a full-service law firm with a nationwide reputation as one of the most prominent law firms in China. Xiaosu Zhu has responsibility for the leadership of the Corporate & Commercial Affairs Team within the firm, mainly handling those legal matters in relation to corporate governance, M&A, IP licensing and transaction, foreign investment, international trade and antitrust cases. However Xiaosu Zhu as well as having done extremely well in his professional life has also developed his artistic skills by becoming an artist in the Beijing Opera.

The story of the opera Wen Zhao Pass

“The character I play is called Wu Zixu, and the opera is called Wen Zhao Pass. The story was in the Spring and Autumn era (722 BC - 481 BC) of Chinese history. The Chu State Premier was killed because of his knowledge of the Chu State King's incest. All other members of Wu Zixu’s clan were to be killed. Only the son, Wu Zixu (my character), was brave enough to flee for revenge. He was going to a neighbouring state to ask for reinforcements but was blocked at the Wen Zhao Pass. Having hidden away in a friend's house for several days, he worried how he could escape out of the pass. Under enormous stress, Wu Zixu's hair turned completely white and his facial features aged greatly. The change was a blessing in disguise and Wu Zixu was finally able to escape and head to the neighbouring state. So you will see that in one photo, the Moses beard is black while in the other photo it is white.”

Drama is life and life is drama

“Beijing opera, known as China's national theatre style, has experienced the change of times of art over the past over 200 years. The cadenced and exaggerated tone of opera amuse me greatly. In my spare time, I can sing for fun, enjoyment and recreation. The opera is just as the old Chinese saying goes: drama is life and life is drama. When playing in the Beijing opera, one can enjoy the different roles of life with great satisfaction.” 

More about the opera

Beijing opera or Peking opera is a form of traditional Chinese theatre which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics. It originated in the late 18th century and became fully developed and recognized by the mid-19th century. The form was extremely popular in the Qing Dynasty court and has come to be regarded as one of the cultural treasures of China.
Beijing opera features four main types of performers. With their elaborate and colorful costumes, performers are the only focal points on Beijing opera's characteristically sparse stage. They utilize the skills of speech, song, dance, and combat in movements that are symbolic and suggestive, rather than realistic. Above all else, the skill of performers is evaluated according to the beauty of their movements. Performers also adhere to a variety of stylistic conventions that help audiences navigate the plot of the production. The music of Beijing opera can be divided into the Xipi and Erhuang styles. Melodies include arias, fixed-tune melodies, and percussion patterns. The repertoire of Beijing opera includes over 1,400 works, which are based on Chinese history, folklore, and, increasingly, contemporary life. 

Wikipedia Beijing_opera
You tube link to Beijing opera performance

Last Modified: 04-05-2010