Tra­di­tional art be­ing re­vi­tal­ized

China Daily European Weekly - - Spotlight - Spear) Dui Hua Qiang (Sil­ver White Snake Pouch, The Leg­end of the The Jew­elry

As Pek­ing Opera faces a falling view­er­ship, mod­ern tech and adap­ta­tions are en­cour­aged

Opera with con­tem­po­rary TV, and fea­tures Yuan in the lead role. In 2008, Yuan ini­ti­ated the idea of shoot­ing a film, the first of its kind in the coun­try, based on the Pek­ing Opera piece,

and she played the lead role of Jiang Guizhi, a loyal wife.

One of the most suc­cess­ful Pek­ing Opera artists among the younger gen­er­a­tion is Zhang Huod­ing. The 46-year-old is one of a few Pek­ing Opera per­form­ers who can re­ceive the ac­claim usu­ally re­served for a pop star in China.

Zhang’s main job now in­volves teach­ing at the Na­tional Academy of Chi­nese The­ater Arts. Born in Baicheng in North­east China’s Jilin province, Zhang be­gan her stud­ies in Pek­ing Opera in Tian­jin in 1986. Upon grad­u­a­tion three years later, she fo­cused on the Cheng school — one of the four ma­jor Pek­ing Opera styles that emerged in the early 20th cen­tury — un­der ac­com­plished per­former Zhao Rongchen (1916-96). The Cheng school, founded by famed Pek­ing Opera mas­ter Cheng Yan­qiu, is known for its sor­row­ful and grace­ful singing, es­pe­cially when por­tray­ing vul­ner­a­ble and con­strained fe­male roles.

Zhang caused a sen­sa­tion in 2015 by per­form­ing the fa­mous Pek­ing Opera pieces,

and at the Lin­coln Cen­ter in New York. Given her in­flu­ence and pop­u­lar­ity, the Na­tional Academy of Chi­nese The­ater Arts launched an art her­itage cen­ter named af­ter her in Novem­ber 2015. The cen­ter is ded­i­cated to teach­ing, per­form­ing and re­search into the Cheng school of Pek­ing Opera. of the White Snake

WANG LEI / XIN­HUA

Zhang Huod­ing per­forms

at the Lin­coln Cen­ter in New York in Novem­ber 2015.

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