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May 27, 2019

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Popular TV show adapted for operatic stage

A top-rated TV series “A Civic Yuppie in the Countryside,” which features a civil servant’s sudden transfer from a city to a poor village, has been adapted into a Chinese opera “Ma Xiangyang Goes to the Countryside.”

The show, brought by performers from Shandong Province, is to be staged at Shanghai Grand Theater, and is competing for this year’s Wenhua Award at the ongoing 12th China Art Festival.

Ma Xiangyang, an assistant researcher at the agricultural institute, volunteered to go back to his remote home village to help reduce poverty and bring prosperity. But the journey back home isn’t as easy as he had anticipated.

The original TV series, shot in 2014, was a surprising success, especially among young Chinese viewers, who aren’t often attracted to stories set in rural areas.

Many attribute its high ratings and topical discussions on social media to well-structured story-telling with realistic anecdotes that showcased a non-stereotypical Chinese countryside.

The opera has carried on that format as well as the major “struggles” between Ma, the civil servant from the city, and local village officials.

While both mean well for the development of the village and its people, their different backgrounds create several misunderstandings at first.

While Ma fails to grasp how his policies will affect local villagers, local officials are also stubborn to adopt his new ideas.

The opera also features site-specific preferences with Shandong characteristics, including local folk songs, customs and dialects.


Date: May 28, 29, 7:30pm

Tickets: 60-380 yuan

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater

Address: 300 People’s Ave


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