Tseng Yong-yih (曾永義), the first academician at Academia Sinica to focus on traditional Chinese opera, passed away at home on Monday last week at the age of 81, his former student and former artistic director of the GuoGuang Opera Company Wang An-chi (王安祈) said.
Tseng was an academician in the social sciences and humanities at Academia Sinica, with a style “transcending the boundaries of time and place,” Wang said the day after Tseng passed away.
Tseng was also the first in his field to study and write a book about traditional Taiwanese gezai opera, Wang said.
Tseng taught at the university’s Department of Chinese Literature as a chair professor for 18 years.
Tseng recently completed a script for GuoGuang, which tells the story of Lord Xinling Jun (信陵君), a prominent aristocrat, statesman and general of the Warring States period, and is expected to be produced next year, Wang said.
Another one of Tseng’s posthumous works, which he coauthored, is to debut on Friday — a traditional-style Chinese opera called Across the World, which is to be staged at the Taiwan Traditional Theater Center, the opera’s producer, National Taiwan College of Performing Arts, said in a statement last week.
It was originally to be staged two years ago, but the performance was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said.
Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得) expressed deep sadness over Tseng’s loss, saying he would seek a presidential citation to honor his devotion to the preservation and promotion of traditional drama and opera culture, as well as the development of traditional opera performing arts, a ministry statement said.
Tseng devoted his life to traditional Chinese opera through writing papers, literary and artistic creation, preservation efforts and conducting international exchanges, it said.
He also promoted exchanges of research and opera performances across the Taiwan Strait, and helped young students become interested in the traditional arts, it said.
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