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Peking Opera joins industrial era

By Cheng Yuezhu | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-28 07:47

The production centers on Zhang Liangang, a senior expert at the Shandong Port Group, and his Liangang Innovation Team.CHINA DAILY

Entering the team's work environment also gave the production crew a sneak peek into the harshness of working conditions. Scriptwriter Wang Yong, who is director of the National Peking Opera Co, says that even ascending the tower crane was a petrifying experience, let alone working on one, especially when the crane shakes during windy or rainy weather.

"When we truly walked in their footsteps, we found so many moments that stirred emotions within us. China's port industry is indeed the dream of several generations, and this is what we have always wanted to convey in our subsequent creation process — it's not just about one individual, but about teamwork," Lu says.

As it is a modern Peking Opera production, one of the greatest challenges in the creation process is how to retain the essence of Peking Opera, including its vocal techniques and acting skills, while presenting a contemporary story taking place in an industrial high-tech setting, according to Lu.

The production's composition and vocal design are undertaken by Zhu Shaoyu, a national-level inheritor of the Peking Opera intangible cultural heritage project.

To ensure efficiency and high quality, Zhu worked closely with the director and scriptwriter at every stage. Often, when a segment of lyrics was written, Zhu would immediately begin working on the composition, making adjustments as needed, rather than waiting for the entire script to be finalized.

"Within the character types of Peking Opera, I made sure that three of them, sheng (dignified male role), dan (dignified female role) and jing (male role with face paint), had their own solo passages to cater to the preferences of Peking Opera fans," Zhu says.

"In terms of music, we aimed for a modern, experimental approach, because the production centers on a contemporary subject. We boldly incorporated a choir, a symphony orchestra, and even elements of electronic music."

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