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[China-culture]Festival gives voice to promotion of Chinese opera[Page:1]

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The Story of Jian'an, a Peking Opera piece about an Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220) woman named Cai Wenji, will be staged at the Ninth Classic Chinese Operas Series event at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center.[Photo provided to China Daily]
When he was a teenager, Luo Huaizhen competed against Jet Li in a national martial arts tournament.
He ranked sixth in the event, while Li, who was six years younger than him, became the champion.
Luo then decided that a career in martial arts was not for him.
The 59-year-old is now one of the most productive playwrights in China, and one of the most active advocates of the modernization and urbanization of traditional Chinese opera.
Luo's play, The Story of Jian'an, will be staged at the Ninth Classic Chinese Operas Series event at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center.
The play is based on the life of Cai Wenji, a woman from the second century who was famous for her intellect.
Written in 2010, the play was commissioned by the Hubei Peking Opera Theater.
Since its premiere, the play has won several national awards and become part of the company's new repertoire.
Luo has been a frequent participant in the Classic Chinese Opera Series - an annual festival of Chinese opera hosted by the SOAC - and many of his works have also been staged at the festival over the past few years.
As the vice-chairman of the national playwrights' association, Luo has continually recommended projects for the series, says Lin Hongming, president of the SOAC.
The festival will take place from March 18 to April 24 at the SOAC, where 12 plays will be presented, besides a few opera recitals and concerts.
The series started eight years ago, says Lin, adding that takes lots of effort and manpower to attract audiences to the Chinese opera series every year.
"But we have managed to carry on with considerable success," he says.
On average, up to 70 percent of the festival tickets are sold, he adds.
Lin says that due to brisk economic development, the Chinese appetite for cultural activities has been growing steadily in the past few years as evidenced by the increasing fan base for Chinese opera.
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