Folk Chinese opera staged in Chicago to celebrate Chinese New Year

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-18 16:13:00|Editor: Jiaxin
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Artists perform Chuanju (Sichuan Opera) "Jin Shan Temple" at Chicago Symphony Center in Chicago, the United States, on Feb. 17, 2018. As part of Chinese New Year celebrations, a troupe of southwest China's Chongqing Chuanju (Sichuan Opera) Theater, and the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra from east China's Zhejiang Province presented traditional Chinese opera and music to U.S. audience at the Chicago Symphony Center on Saturday. (Xinhua/Wang Ping)

CHICAGO, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- As part of Chinese New Year celebrations, a troupe of southwest China's Chongqing Chuanju (Sichuan Opera) Theater presented traditional Chuanju excerpts to a U.S. audience at the Chicago Symphony Center on Saturday.

The 2,500-seat center is a full house, with applause and cheers erupting from time to time.

The Chongqing Chuanju Theater presented five excerpts in the first half session of the show. The local dialect of Sichuan and the Chinese humor posed no obstacles to the audience understanding the plots of the play.

"The Taming of the Gambler," a story depicting how a wife educates her gambler husband with some afflictions and combining Chinese humor with acrobatics, has sparked rounds of applause and laughters constantly.

"Jin Shan Temple," another traditional Chinese fairy tale, has performers dressed in full traditional costumes and make-up and featured such stunts as fire-spitting and face-changing, when a performer instantly switches masks by raising a hand, swinging a sleeve or tossing the head.

"I had read a lot about the face-changing, and I enjoyed seeing that. It was wonderful to see all the colorful costume, the make-up, the music," John Trowbridge told Xinhua, "I'm really enjoying it very much."

Henry Trowbridge, son of John Trowbridge, was impressed by the acrobatics. The teenager especially liked the part when the performers flip.

It is not the first time for Susan in her 60s to watch Chuanju. "I've seen the joker blowing candle before, and face-changing, I know there are masks."

"I like when they change the masks, and I like the costumes, I like the colors of the costumes," Susan stressed.

The Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra, from east China's Zhejiang Province, took up the second half of the performance. Familiar tunes of a variety of folk Chinese operas including Huangmei Opera, Shaoxing Opera, Beijing Opera, Henan Opera and Qin Qiang Opera have reminded overseas Chinese of their homeland.

The orchestra also presented to the audience Uighur folk song of "Lift Your Veil," and popular song "Crossing the River."

Zhou Lifang, director of the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra, said the goal of the orchestra is to "endow symphony with Chinese characteristics and Chinese music with world tune."

This is the fourth year for the Chicago Symphony Center to stage a grand performance on the event of the Chinese New Year.

Chinese Consul General Hong Lei hailed the show an opportunity for Americans to have an understanding of the Chinese culture.

"The aspiration for good life is exactly the same (for both the Chinese and American peoples)." He hoped that it could be a yearly event.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to present some of the best artists from China in a program of traditional Chinese music," said Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) President Jeff Alexander.

"This concert is a very special annual event for our audiences and has become a marvelous musical celebration for Chinese New Year at Symphony Center," he said.

The show is just one of many Chinese New Year celebration activities launched in the city of Chicago.

In the coming two weeks, the Art Institute of Chicago will co-work with the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Shanghai Museum to open an exhibition named "Mirroring China's Past: Emperors and their Bronzes."

A Chinese Arts and Culture Documentary Film Festival will be held at the Chicago Culture Center and the Chinatown in Chicago will hold a Chinese Lunar New Year Parade.

Chicago Bulls will for the first time present Chinese dragon and lion dances during their home game with Philadelphia 76ers.

Chicago is the first city in the United States to launch Chinese New Year celebrations in the name of a municipal government, and 2018 will be the fifth year for the city to mark the Chinese New Year.

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KEY WORDS: Chinese opera