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It’s junior’s turn

(Global Times)

09:07, June 03, 2013

Last Friday night, CCTV-11, the channel for Chinese traditional opera, broadcast the first episode of its first reality show for Peking Opera. Their mission: to select the best Monkey King in China.

Along the same vein not too long ago, Beijing Peking Opera Theater (BPOT) presented its 29 young performers for a series of shows in Shanghai under the modern name 29 Juniors IN Shanghai. Later this month, BPOT is also going to present another group, ELEVEN Show, for their new coming performance.

For audiences unfamiliar with Peking Opera, such marketing strategy and methods of promotion are providing new inspiration to the inheritors of Chinese traditional operas. However, for seasoned performers and long-time fans of Peking Opera, these tactics are simply a return to another old tradition.

Idols of their day

The ongoing Monkey King contest has three parts: recruiting, training, and performing. Contestants also include actors from regions outside the mainland such as Japan and Taiwan. Peking Opera masters serve as judges, as well as those from other fields such as singers, actors and foreign guests including singer Gong Linna's husband, Robert Zollitsch - a German composer known locally as Lao Luo.

The idea is to interpret the traditional Chinese symbol, the image of Monkey King, in a modern and international way.

The 29 Juniors' project shares a similar idea of building up a modern yet classic image. All the performers were wearing long traditional Chinese gowns when attending events and taking photos.

"We must let the actors maintain an image. Audiences will not recognize you without an image and there will be no chance to sell the brand," Li Enjie, director of BPOT, told Beijing Daily.

Zhang Jianfeng, one of the leading actors at BPOT and also a member of 29 Juniors told the Global Times that he finds the long gown quite stylish. Styles from the Republic of China period (1912-49) are coming back into fashion, he said.

"That was also a golden time for Peking Opera," said Zhang.

Ling Ke, a performer from Tianjin Peking Opera Theater, explained that Peking Opera was originally a kind of entertainment and performers were idols of their day. However, educational values were added as a way of development. Now, it is time to clean up the unnecessary obligations, according to Ling.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiXiang、Ye Xin)

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