Tradition and innovation, like oil and water, supposedly do not mix. But the Anhui-based Huangmei Opera -- one of the five major Chinese opera styles -- hopes to continue to make its mark in the performing arts by combining both the old and the new. CGTN's Joey Villarama visited the opera's home in Anqing in Anhui Province to see how advocates are promoting their cause.
Fancy costumes, exaggerated make-up and high-pitched voices. These usually characterize traditional Chinese opera. While the various forms of Chinese opera may all sound and look the same, one form of the traditional performing art wants to be an exception. Dating back at least 200 years, the Huangmei Opera wants to be prominently known for its unique local flavor and style.
JOEY VILLARAMA ANQING, ANHUI PROVINCE The Huangmei Opera is one of 5 traditional Chinese Opera styles. Combined with local art, local music and the local dialect, it has become widely popular here in Anqing. But it has been made more famous because of the efforts of local born artists like Han Zaifen, whose work is recognized nationally.
To ensure that the values and aesthetics of modern times are reflective, input from the younger generation is also important. That is why the majority of the members of Zaifen's Huangmei Opera Troupe are young. But despite their age, they take the ancient art form very seriously.
HUANGMEI OPERA PERFORMER： We come here two hours early for makeup. We practice singing every morning and afternoon, not just before going on stage as we want to give our best performance for the audience.
HUANGMEI OPERA PERFORMER： I am going to act as a rickshaw driver later. I've been singing Huangmei Opera since I was five years old. I am still excited about performing on stage these days.
Han Zaifen and her opera troupe hope that with the continued interest and innovation from both performers and the viewing public, Huangmei Opera will continue to gain prominence as an Anqing-grown major opera style. Joey Villarama, CGTN, Anqing, Anhui Province.