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Sichuan opera needs protection

03-01-2011 08:54 BJT

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In China, every part of the land inspires an operatic tradition, distinctive to its region.  Sichuan Opera, prevailed in its home province for centuries, giving voice to the values and cultural essence of the people. But while people are obsessed with its magic tricks such as "Changing Face", the opera form as a whole is inevitably slipping into oblivion.

Ancient totem worship and tribal beliefs played a crucial part in shaping Sichuan Opera. During its long evolution, magic and acrobatics came to enrich performances in a way no other regional opera in China can equal.

The best known part of the opera is "Changing Face." A performer changes his facial mask multiple times, each time in the blink of an eye.

The show has made its way into teahouses and restaurants in Sichuan, creating a big draw for visitors.

Sichuan Opera, prevailed in its home province for centuries, giving voice to the values
and cultural essence of the people.

"I think the most interesting part of the show is 'Changing Face'. I saw it on TV before. This is the first time that I have been able to see it up close. It is really magical."

Ancient totem worship and tribal beliefs played a crucial part in shaping Sichuan
Opera.

But for professionals, these tricks are too tiny a part to represent Sichuan Opera.

Chen Zhelin, Director of Sichuan Opera Troupe in Chengdu, said, "If we say the opera is like a human body, 'changing face' is a mere organ. How can the organ represent the entire body? "

With a distinguished vocal and performing tradition, Sichuan opera has been prevailing in the southwestern part of China for three-hundred years. It was inscribed onto the national intangible heritage list in 2006. Despite the popularity of "Changing Face", a declining number of audiences go to theatres to watch a complete play.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: CNTV.CN

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