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A brand-new look for a classic old art form

SHAOXING Lianhualuo, a storytelling and singing art form popular in Zhejiang Province, will enchant traditional opera fans with an authentic performance at Yifu Theater on April 9.

Acclaimed Shaoxing Lianhualuo artists, such as Hu Zhaohai, Jin Guoliang and Fang Jianlin, will sing and perform accompanied by bamboo strings and lute.

They will perform some of the comedy and storytelling that the genre is famous for excerpts from "The Grandmother Bridge," "Happy Old Lady" and "Borrowing Clothes," all in Shaoxing dialect.

To attract the younger generation, modern elements from Latin dance and pop music will be added to the traditional tunes.

Famous for its vocal range, easily understood lyrics and flamboyant performances, this folk performing art was included on China's first list of state-level intangible cultural heritage items in 2006. Last year the opera form celebrated its centenary.

Shaoxing Lianhualuo performer Weng Renkang, a national Peony Prize winner in 2000, says that like many other traditional folk arts, the grassroots opera also experienced some tough years in decline.

"Fortunately our old artists immediately took measures to keep this age-old art form alive like opening classes for new apprentices," Weng says. "Nowadays, there are more than 100 professional performers in this genre. Every weekend, they stage shows and workshops for Shaoxing Lianhualuo lovers.

"In recent years, we have been trying to bring a new vitality to the art form and to introduce innovations."

Date: April 9, 7:15pm

Venue: Yifu Theater, 701 Fuzhou Rd

Tickets: 30-160 yuan

Tel: 6322-5294, 5353-0054


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