East and West opera culture meet in Suichang
The east sector of Guanju culture park in Suichang, Lishui. [Photo/lsnews.com.cn]
Tang Xianzu (1550-1616), a celebrated playwright in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), is known as "China's Shakespeare". He was the county magistrate in Suichang in Lishui, Zhejiang province, in the 1590s.
In April 2016, the Tang Xianzu Opera Town broke ground in Suichang. In 2018, the opera town was included in the list of "top 10 Oujiang River poetry-themed cultural and tourism projects".
Guanju culture park is the core of the opera town and the largest comprehensive cultural and tourism project under construction in Suichang, with investment of 2.5 billion yuan ($354 million).
The park is divided into east and west sectors, featuring love culture in the works of Tang Xianzu and Shakespeare, respectively.
Actors prepare for a performance of The Peony Pavilion in the east sector of Guanju culture park in Suichang, Lishui. [Photo/lsnews.com.cn]
The park's chief designer Zhou Gaoneng explained that the core building in the east sector is modeled after Ming Dynasty buildings, and is a replica of the residence of Du Bao, the heroine's father in the play The Peony Pavilion written by Tang.
The east sector will also be a live performance venue in the future, according to Zhuo Yanjie, the manager of the park. "We have already been preparing a live performance of The Peony Pavilion, and Suichang has set up its own Kunqu Opera troupe," Zhuo said.
Also, the Tudor architecture of Stratford, Shakespeare's home town, will be copied in the west sector where construction is about to begin. It will also host performances of classic scenes from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
The east and the west sectors are equipped with leisure consumption blocks, which will provide a mass entrepreneurship platform for local culture, handicrafts, specialties and catering. It is estimated that the park will provide 3,000 jobs.