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Perking opera's leading voice

Director and star of the traditional genre passes on tips to bring in a new generation, Zhang Xiaomin reports in Dalian, Liaoning.

By Zhang Xiaomin | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-03-17 08:50

Yang in the costume of Xiang Yu, a prominent warlord of the late Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC).[Photo provided to China Daily]

"Its melody, singing, dancing, makeup and costumes all embody the unique charm of Chinese art."

Yang has been working as director of the Dalian Peking Opera Theater since 2000.

Today, both Yang and the theater have become a calling card for the port city in Northeast China.

Over the years, apart from daily rehearsals, performances and exchanges, the troupe has also undertaken the task of bringing Peking Opera to schools, islands and residential communities.

Yang believes that their work has achieved good results.

"The audience in the theater used to be all old people, but now there are many young faces. Some college students have even become fans of our Peking Opera performers," he says.

"There are also parents bringing their children to the theater. I've found that it's easy to get kids to like the art form if they can just sit down and enjoy for a while."

Yang's approach to the art form was inspired by his father, a fan of Peking Opera.

"When I was a little boy, I liked playing outside with other kids. Once I heard Peking Opera playing on the radio, I immediately stopped playing and ran home to listen to it," Yang recalls.

He also feels grateful that he benefited from meeting a good, enlightening teacher, Liu Jinchang, when he started learning the opera.

"I was only 11. Sometimes I could not understand why he was so strict. When I grew up, I realized that it was because of that, I had laid a solid foundation."

Yang says the theater plans to set up training courses for kids, teaching them the basic skills of Peking Opera and enhancing their energy and spirit with traditional Chinese culture.

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