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Peking Opera renaissance


09:18, April 11, 2013

Children performers. (CNTV)

Love it or loathe it, Peking Opera is a quintessential part of traditional Chinese culture. Despite this, the genre has seen a slump in popularity among modern audiences, but there are efforts being made to ensure that this ancient art form is passed on to the next generation. The port city of Qingdao is home to a growing number of children who are avid about this unique style of performance.

Organizers had never imagined that here, at the Qingdao Art Palace, so many children would be eager to sign up for this class, dedicated to the training of girls to perform the age-old roles of Peking Opera. The 17 elementary school children imitate their teacher, Zhao Wenji, carefully following her delicate hand gestures. Zhao is a graduate of the China Opera Academy and has been learning Peking Opera since the age of 11. She is pleasantly surprsied that so many children wanted to join her class.

Zhao Wenji, teacher of Peking Opera training class, said:” This figure is encouraging, better than I had imagined. I thought Peking Opera was not a hot thing that would attract parents and kids.”

Some may think learning an old-fashioned opera is of no use to kids nowadays, but parents or grandparents certainly think otherwise.

“I saw the ad in the newspaper. I think learning Peking Opera can help with fitness and also nurture a positive attitude.”

“I want her to have more exposure to traditional culture.”

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