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Opera Master Carries Forward Thearter Art Across the County

Viewed 299 times 2018-12-12 15:36 |System category:News

Xie Tao []


A female Jinju opera master who devoted her entire life to opera performance and traditional culture inheritance recently received interviews to share stories from her opera career.

Xie Tao is a master of Jinju opera, a national topmost actress, and also a representative inheritor of Jinju opera, an item listed among China's national intangible cultural heritages. 

Recently, Xie's new work Under Mount Lanke is being staged across the country. With her profound singing skills, effortless grace and vivid performance, Xie has successfully created the classic figure image of Zhu Maichen in the opera. Attracted by her spendid performance, many fans came to see her from Beijing, Tianjin and Shandong. 

Xie was born into an opera family in Taiyuan, north China's Shanxi Province. Her mother was an opera singer whilst her father was a drama education worker. 

She grew up in theaters, watching her mother and her co-workers perform on the stage every day, and wished that she could someday become a Jinju opera artist like them.

However, as an opera performer who knew how hard the profession was, her mother strongly disapproved of her learning the art.

Despite of the determined opposition from her family, Xie still insisted and applied for an opera school stealthily.

"I just like the opera so much," Xie recalled. She also felt a lot of admiration for her own courage and perseverance at that time.

Knowing that Xie had made such a bold decision, her mother hugged her and cried bitterly, telling her that there would be too much suffering in store for her in striving to become an accomplished opera artist.

In response, the determined girl said to her mother: "I can assure you that someday you would be proud of your daughter."

On the road to achieve progress in the opera circle, Xie worked really hard and persisted in making her dream a reality. She devoted nearly all her time and emotion to the opera stage.

In 1996, Xie won the Plum Blossom Prize, an award just as prestigious as the Oscars in the opera field, for the first time for her performance in the Jinju opera Ding Guo Xian.

To bring out the best effect on the stage, Xie had shaved her head for several times as required by the roles she performed.

"I didn't want to though, yet I had to sacrifice for the opera," Xie said. She believed it was a good opera performer's duty.

Xie has won many awards over the years, but she never stops at that. And she attributed 90 percent of her experiences as well as success to stage performances given for the grassroots audience.

Xie traveled around the country for more than 200 days a year, appearing in more than 300 performances annually for ordinary people. And there were numerous stories taking place during her performance tours that deeply moved her.

Once Xie's team performed Buyi Yu Chenglong in the outskirt of Taiyuan. Just before the opera was about to start at 8 p.m., the power went out, and it didn't come back until after 11 p.m. "I was deeply worried that the audience might have left," Xie recalled.

Yet it turned out that all the audience still remained there when the performance resumed. Xie believed it was the charm of opera and traditional Chinese culture that helps to retain the audience.

Indeed, the audience's love and dedication to the opera is an affirmation and support for her, as well as an encouragement for her to stick to the stage.

Today, Xie is in her 50s. Despite the many suggestions that she should retire to enjoy her life, she still has a hectic schedule. Besides performing, she has also been to various universities to give speeches. She is hoping to sow the seeds of opera art in the hearts of young people.

"In the past few years, I have realized that it is not that young people do not like opera, but that they do not know opera well enough," Xie said.

"Especially college students, their abilities for appreciation, aesthetics and expression are far beyond our imagination," Xie added.

Therefore, Xie hoped that there would be better plays and more good roles created on the stage for audiences, and more efforts are needed to attract young audiences to develop interest in the opera.

At the same time, she will also try her best to cultivate inheritors and successors and pass on what she has learned, including her practical experience.

As an inheritor of the art of Jinju opera, Xie said that in the future she will continue to spread the art and carry forward traditional culture.


Xie Tao puts on her makeup. []


(Source: and edited by Women of China)

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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