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November 27, 2020

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Western opera tells patriotic story

An updated version of Shanghai Opera House’s “Li Dazhao” will be staged at Shanghai Grand Theater on November 28 and 29.

The two-act opera created four years ago honors the revolutionary spirit of Chinese Communist pioneers, represented by Li Dazhao, who died fighting against the monarchy in the struggle to build a republic in the 1920s. Li and Chen Duxiu were among the early founders of the Communist Party of China.

Playwright Yao Yuan simplified much of the story, based on his literary script “Li Dazhao,” and left room for music and emotion to give the characters more depth.

The opera has undergone several rounds of performances and adjustments. The latest version features the multimedia designs of contemporary artist Feng Jiangzhou. The stage sets are modified to strike a balance between historical and modern aesthetics.

“The production is a patriotic story told in the form of Western opera,” said director Xiong Yuanwei. “We refined it so there is no old-fashioned preaching, but the younger generation can still feel the power of a spirit-filled belief.”

Additional modifications are expected based on audience feedback before it moves on to Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts. A national tour is scheduled for next year.

Statues of Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu have been moved to the Grand Theater from the memorial hall of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China to serve as exhibits for the performance.

Dates: November 28-29, 7:10pm

Tickets: 80-580 yuan

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater

Address: 300 People’s Avenue


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