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National art troupes under spotlight in Beijing

08-05-2010 09:01 BJT

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China's ancient patriotic hero Yue Fei is revived on stage through the classic tunes of Peking Opera.

The performance, staged at the NCPA on Monday night, opened a month of shows presented by China's outstanding national art troupes. Our reporter Zhang Song finds out more.

An ancient hero is revived through an ancient art form.

The patriotic general Yue Fei of the Song Dynasty nearly one thousand years ago, is known so well in China for his loyalty, tragedy, and his patriotic poem "Man Jiang Hong." The Peking Opera piece lends the name of this poem, which never fails to boost patriotism whenever the Chinese nation runs up against a crisis.

China's ancient patriotic hero Yue Fei is revived on stage through the classic tunes of Peking Opera. 
China's ancient patriotic hero Yue Fei is revived on stage through the classic
tunes of Peking Opera. 

Led by renowned artist Yu Kuizhi who interprets the hero, and Li Shengsu who plays his wife, the new version from the old Peking Opera repertoire is armed with a modern twist while keeping the best elements of the old.

Song Guanlin, head of China National Peking Opera Company, said, "We are trying to move closer to today's audiences. We retain the important plots and some classic arias of the original play, and deleted some acts that are not attractive or important. We also added more personal stories of Yue Fei to create a full, rich and impressive character. We've also borrow some modern elements from music accompaniment, to stage design and lighting. "

Such an effort is always devoted by the National Peking Opera Company. Founded in January 1955, the company is an ensemble of the country's best talents of Peking Opera. The great late artist Mei Lanfang was the first Director of the troupe. Over the last five decades, the company has toured more than 50 countries and regions in five continents. It's one of the 9 national companies who will be featured on the capital stage for a month.

Initiated by the Ministry of Culture, the event, is the biggest ever of its kind as the Minister described at the opening ceremony on Monday night.

Cai Wu, China's Minister of Culture, said, "National companies are an active force on the performance stage of China. Each troupe carries a mission and duty to present and share the cultural prosperity with audience members."

A total of 32 performances will be staged in seven theatres until September 4th. They cover a wide range from Peking opera, to Italian opera, drama, ballet, song and dance, children's play, western orchestra, and China's traditional folk orchestra.

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