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January 4, 2012

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Peking Opera fest a feast for fans

RENOWNED artists from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan will present five Peking Opera classics and new original theater at the annual Peking Opera Festival of the Shanghai Grand Theater.

The festival runs from February 16 to 24. It opens with a lavish performance of the epic "Sun Bin and Pang Juan." Based on a famous Warring States Period (477-221 BC) story, the opera tells of the rivalry between two military tacticians, Sun Bin and Pang Juan. It combines traditional vocals with modern elements from symphony, opera, musicals and dance drama.

The performances are joint productions by the Shanghai Peking Opera House and the prestigious Taipei Li-yuan Chinese Opera Theater.

Performances include the classic "Accusation from a Wronged Ghost," the romantic comedy "A Love Story in the Cabinet/Closet," the folktale "The Legend of White Snake" and the newly adapted wartime story "The Battle of Weinan."

Artists include Li Baochun, Wei Hai-ming, Wang Peiyu and Sun Zhengyang.

Zhang Zhe, director of Shanghai Grand Theater, says that the festival attracts many young people and foreigners as well as elderly Chinese Peking Opera lovers.

"Traditional operas are facing new opportunities and challenges both on the mainland and in Taiwan," Zhang says. "The performances of great artistry and creativity will provide insight into how troupes can innovate and revive Peking Opera today," he says.

In other opera news, the Shanghai Kunqu Opera House will shoot a high-definition film of "The Palace of Eternal Youth" performed by Kunqu masters such as Cai Zhengren, Liu Yilong and Zhang Jingxian. Kunqu Opera dates back 600 years and is considered the mother of Chinese operas.

Date: February 16-24, 7:15pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater, 300 People's Ave

Tickets: 50-580 yuan (US$8-90)

Tel: 6386-8686


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