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Composer: Opera "Mulan" a blend of East and West
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14:30, September 01, 2008

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Chinese opera "Mulan" won wide acclaim at its debut at the Vienna State Opera House on Saturday evening. Guan Xia, composer of "Mulan," attributed the success to artistic innovations the opera has gone through.

"'Mulan' adopts the approaches familiar to Western opera-lovers. There is no aesthetic gap for them to appreciate this Chinese opera," said Guan in an interview with Xinhua.

Based on Chinese folk opera, "Mulan" integrates the artistical ways of Western opera, said Guan, who is also director of the China National Symphony Orchestra (CNSO).

"Mulan" is different from Chinese traditional folk opera, and it does not completely copy Western opera either, according to Guan.

"It integrates symphony, Western opera, musical opera, folk opera, drama and dancing with elements from Chinese folk music and Chinese national costume," said Guan.

"Mulan" is an integration of Chinese modern stage arts and Western traditional culture, making it a good example for Chinese national opera to be mounted on the international stage, Guan added.

"This is a successful experiment," he noted.

In retrospect, Guan said Western opera was introduced to China just 100 years ago.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Chinese opera entered a new phase of development when a series of popular operas like "Savage Land" and "The Daughter of the Party" were put on the stage.

Talking about the evolution of Chinese opera, Guan said there has been two approaches -- one is in favor of localization while the other is for direct adoption of Western opera.

Based on national music and folk opera, Chinese opera needs to be put to the international stage through renovations, according Guan.

"China's national operas have to go through another renovation before they are mounted on the international opera stage, that is, to renovate China's national opera in accordance with artistical rules of Western opera," Guan said.

"Mulan" sets a good example for China's national opera as it adopts Western style to show the charm of Chinese culture, according to Guan.

"It is a successful experiment for China's national opera to march onto the international stage," Guan added.

"Mulan" made its debut at the prestigious Vienna State Opera House, representing the "first step" for China's national opera to make its appearance on the European stage.

"This is a good start," Guan said.

Source: Xinhua

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