Passing down Peking Opera: Students to take center stage at Beijing arts festival

Updated 2018-03-23 15:14:06

Four students of veteran Peking Opera artist Zhang Huoding meet the press in Beijing on March 22, 2018. From left, Yang Xiaoyang, Yin Chanjuan, Jiang Xiaoyue and Li Li. [Photo provided to]

Zhang Huoding is a famous name in the Peking Opera scene in today's China. The 47-year-old is an inheritor of the Cheng school - one of four major Peking Opera styles founded by late opera master Cheng Yanqiu (1904-58) that emerged in the early 20th century.

Though the 200-year-old art form has gradually lost its appeal to the general public in modern society, Zhang has performed sold-out shows both in and outside China, attracting audiences of all ages.

Starting in 2008, however, she took an academic approach to pass down the traditional art. For 10 years, she has been teaching at the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts in Beijing, a leading school for traditional Chinese opera. On May 6, four of her students will take center stage at the Meet in Beijing Arts Festival to show the charm and inheritance of the time-honored opera form among China's younger generation.

Zhang Huoding, center, takes a photo with her students after a news conference in Beijing on March 22, 2018. [Photo provided to]

Li Liwill play Princess Tiejing in a scene from the opera Yang Silang Visits His Mother. Three of her female peers, Yang Xiaoyang, Jiang Xiaoyue and Yin Chanjuan, will interpret roles in three other plays: Tears of Wasted Mountain, Butterfly Lovers and The Legend of White Snake.

The Meet in Beijing Arts Festival is a yearly cultural event organized by the Chinese government. It's sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the state radio and television administration and the Beijing municipal government, and organized by China Arts and Entertainment Group and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture. Entering its 18th year, the festival's 2018 edition will convene more than 400 artists from both China and abroad in Beijing for the month-long event, which starts April 27. More than 80 shows, as wells as exhibitions and art education activities, will be featured in major theaters, art galleries and outdoor art scenes in the capital.

This year is also the third time for Zhang Huoding to present her shows during the festival. In 2015 and 2016, Zhang closed the festival with her own performances. This year, however, Zhang will put her students under the limelight instead, to show how China's younger generation has stepped up to inherit and revive the ancient art. If you go:7:30 pm, May 6. Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, 9 Tianqiao South Street, Xicheng district. 400-635-3355.Ticket: 99-380 yuan (-60)

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