A story of storytelling

(China Daily) Updated : 2020-10-26


Performers of the Mongolian ethnic group stage a show at the opening ceremony. CHINA DAILY

National-level intangible heritage inheritor Chen Xiangyuan and his student Qian Houyin performed at the event. They have performed onstage for decades.

Qian, who previously specialized in traditional Chinese operas, explains that Siming nanci is a branch of quyi that leans toward highbrow tastes. Its lyrics in particular require exquisite composition and refined word choices, like poetry.

"I got the chance to perform it several years ago," he says.

"Its instrumentation, singing and performance styles seemed very beautiful and elegant. So, I decided to study it systematically."

But the genre has faced a decline in recent years, as its masters age and few apprentices take it up.

"There are very few male performers, and those who are learning it now are older. So, although I'm 45 years old, I'm still among the younger generation of male performers," he says.

"I'd like to call for public attention to this genre. The art form is on the verge of dying out in terms of the number of teachers, students, performers and subject matters. Many masters are over 70. We need more opportunities to cultivate young students and introduce nanci to a broader audience."

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism's intangible cultural heritage department and art department; the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism; and Ningbo's government hosted this year's Quyi week.

The festival gave abundant platforms for genres around China.

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