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100th birthday of opera maestro celebrated

ezhejiang.gov.cn| Updated: August 3, 2022 L M S


A poster featuring Yueju Opera maestro Yuan Xuefen is seen in Shaoxing, East China's Zhejiang province on Aug 1. [Photo provided to ezhejiang.gov.cn]

An event celebrating the 80th anniversary of Yueju Opera's reform and the 100th birthday of Yueju maestro Yuan Xuefen (1922-2011) was held in Shaoxing, East China's Zhejiang province, on Aug 1.

Yueju Opera, a national intangible cultural heritage, originated in Shaoxing before it became popular in Shanghai. It is a deeply respected and widely acclaimed art form that blends Chinese folk stories, music and drama.

Yuan is credited with leading the reform of Yueju with the extensive use of lighting and scenery. She is best known for playing the title role of Sister Xianglin by Lu Xun, one of the major Chinese writers of the 20th century.


Young inheritors perform a Yueju play during the event on Aug 1. [Photo provided to ezhejiang.gov.cn]

Fang Yafen, a student of Yuan, said her teacher saw the Yueju art as her life but also encouraged her to contribute to the society beyond opera stage.

The event is part of the Fifth Chinese Yueju Opera Festival, which opened in Shaoxing last Sunday. At the festival's opening ceremony, many Yueju maestros signed an agreement to inherit and further develop the art form.

According to Sheng Yuechun, Party secretary of Shaoxing, the city will help build county- and city-level Yueju opera troupes by allocating 10 million yuan ($1.48 million) every year to the creation of new Yueju plays.