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Peking Opera renaissance (2)


09:26, April 11, 2013

Children performers. (CNTV)

And these 5 - 8 year olds seem to be very patient when learning the nuances in delivering lyrics, singing and gesturing.

A student said:” My grandma registered me. Peking Opera is not so difficult, it’s fun.”

A student said:” I like it.”

Since 2008, the Ministry of Education has required schools to include content related to Peking Opera in the music curriculum. Some schools have started running classes, just like at this school in Qingdao. Here, weekly classes began five years ago and to date some 400 students have passed through its doors. Adorned in colorful costumes, these performers seem to be fully immersed in their roles. Guo Jiayi, a key member of the group, is able to sing many excerpts.

Applying the intricate make-up is included as part of the class, to inject more fun. The principle of the school says however that their overheads are high when buying costumes, props, musical instruments, and fees for guest teachers.

Ji Yuyuan, principal of Ping’An 2nd Road Elementary School, said:” The cost of hiring teachers is a problem for us. So we don’t know if these kids will be able to continue to learn about Peking Opera when they leave our school.”

Another school in Qingdao is also proud of its strengths in Peking Opera education. This display shows pictures of students in an array of opera related activities.

Dai Jing, teacher in Shangqing Road Elementary School, said;” Peking Opera training takes more time than that of learning to play the violin or learning to paint. It takes a relatively long period of time before you start to see results, which is why some classes come to an end.”

Teachers and school leaders are calling for more funds to be allocated and for more professionals to get involved in Peking Opera education. This will hope to preserve the practise and appreciation of this Chinese art form and ensure it lives on for many generations to come.

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