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January 19, 2019

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Peking Opera curtain opens on exciting new season

SHANGHAI Peking Opera Company has launched an eye-catching line-up ahead of the 2019 season at the newly renovated Shanghai City Theater.

A series of Peking Opera shows, both classic and new original productions, have been planned for the new year.

On February 6, during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, celebrated Peking Opera performers, including Tong Xiangling, Zhang Nanyun and Xia Huihua, will present a special new year concert. Each performer will bring their representative acts featuring classic excerpts.

In mid-March, Yan Qinggu, a third-generation student of the Zheng school, and producer of the popular “Crown the Clown” series, will stage a martial arts play about the Monkey King's new adventures when he is released from 500 years of captivity in the Five Fingers Mountain. The play will also have tour performances in Japan as part of a program of cultural exchange.

Well-known Peking Opera performer Wang Peiyu, known for her deep and mellow voice to depict a laosheng (old male) role, will present “The Vermilion Cinnabar Birthmark,” a story about the reunion of a father and son after 13 years apart.

Versatile performer Shi Yihong, who is also adept at Kunqu Opera, will offer the classic play “Su San Under Police Escort.” The play depicts a woman named Su San who is framed for murder.

The “Seven Heroes Five Gallants” is an updated version of the Peking Opera classic.

The play, based on an ancient Chinese novel, portrays a dozen heroic characters who uphold justice using their wits and distinctive stunts in martial arts.

In May, the three plays, including “The Vermilion Cinnabar Birthmark,” “Su San Under Police Escort” and “Seven Heroes Five Gallants” will also be exhibited at the 2019 China Opera Festival in Hong Kong.

Additionally, audiences will be offered an innovative concert to celebrate this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival. The concert will combine ancient Chinese poetry with Peking Opera.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Original Peking Opera play “All Quiet in Peking,” based on Liu Heping’s novel, is a tribute to that. It depicts CPC members’ efforts for the peaceful liberation of Peiping (today’s Beijing).

Yu Fengchun, deputy director of Shanghai Peking Opera Company, says they have been devoted to attracting bigger crowds from the younger generation over the past few years. Nowadays, more than half of the audience is made up of people below 50 years old.

“We also organize regular shows for college and middle school students,” Yu said. “The ‘Follow Me’ training sessions for Chinese white-collar workers and expats have been hosted for 10 years. Its latest edition has enrolled more than 400 students. Several thousand people applied for the sessions on the Internet within half an hour.”

Fang Yongnian, general manager of Shanghai City Theater, says they will continue to support the development of traditional Chinese opera.

Over the past nine years, more than 1,000 performances have been staged at Shanghai City Theater. Around 65 percent of them are performances of traditional Chinese theater and children’s drama. More classic shows and traditional Chinese operas will be introduced to a local audience in the future. For more information, go to www.shcitytheatre.cn/.




 

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