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New opera workshop wins fans

TRADITIONAL Chinese operas are trying to win new fans by teaching young people about Peking and Kunqu operas, from history and culture to singing and performance.

After graduating from the regular four-month "Follow Me" course hosted by the Shanghai Peking Opera House and Kunqu Opera House, young people will be able to sing a few simple excerpts from such classics as "Drunken Concubine" and "Farewell My Concubine."

Ever the workshop started in 2007, more than 200 young people have graduated with greater appreciation of traditional theater.

Famous Peking and Kunqu Opera artists deliver some of the lectures and demonstrations of basic performing skills.

The next course - once a week for about half a year - starts in September.

Many students first joined the classes out of curiosity, and found themselves hooked on traditional opera.

Angela Yao says that before the workshop she could not understand or appreciate traditional Chinese opera. But now she has a much clearer idea. Not only does she know about cultural roots, she also knows about makeup, props, settings - and she can sing.

"Wearing flamboyant gowns and heavy makeup made me feel like a character out of a classic opera," Yao says. "I have already put the photos and video clips of my new images on my blog. I'm so excited that I want to share this with my friends."

Those wishing to register should make a reservation by calling 6437-6759. The course provides one session per week. The cost of the whole course is 660 yuan.


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