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Crowds mourn Yueju Opera master at funeral

Hundreds of people gathered at Shanghai Longhua Funeral Home this morning to bid farewell to famous Yueju Opera artist Yuan Xuefen, who died last Saturday at the age of 89. The crowd waiting to take a last look at their idol caused a little chaos when some people tried to push their way into the hall.

Most of the fans attending the funeral were middle-aged and elderly people who have enjoyed Yuan's singing for decades.

The funeral was set in simple style at Yuan's request. A big video screen showed clips of Yuan's works. Mourners signed their names on a banner and got a yellow flower before entering the hall to bid farewell to Yuan.

Since the funeral hall could not hold so many people at one time, mourners were asked to queue up and enter the hall in groups. Still, some fans tried to squeeze into the hall and caused some chaos.

A group of elderly women in their 80s patiently watched the big screen outside the funeral hall. They said they had been enjoying Yuan's works since youth and decided to come and pay their respect for the last time.

"Yuan has made great contribution to the development of Yueju Opera. Her departure has left a void in this art form," said Mao Shi'an, an art critic in Shanghai.

Learning Yueju Opera at the age of 11, Yuan has performed on stage for more than 70 years and developed her own singing style. She rejuvenated Yueju Opera by absorbing elements from Peking Opera, drama and film. Yan starred in "Xiang Lin Sao," "Butterfly Lovers" and "A Dream of Red Mansions."


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