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A historic performance

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2022-07-14 07:32
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A scene from the Chinese opera Jiang Jie, in which singer Wang Li performs the role of the female martyr, Jiang Zhuyun, at the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing in September. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Singer is preparing to assume the role of revolutionary heroine Jiang Jie for the 101st time, as the NCPA reprises the classic Chinese opera, Chen Nan reports.

Back in 2007, when the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing was launched, one of its first performances was the classic Chinese opera Jiang Jie.

Wang Li, then a 25-year-old singer, who had graduated from university not long before and won a top national music award, the Chinese Golden Bell Award for Music, stood out from her peers and was chosen to play the titular role in the opera.

"It was a challenging task for me. I can still remember walking into the NCPA, which was so new, that the parking lot was still under construction," recalls the singer, who spent more than a year preparing herself for the performance.

After making her successful debut at the NCPA in 2007, Wang toured the nation performing as Jiang Jie in the opera for five years.

Now, a decade on, Wang is set to return to the NCPA to once again reprise her portrayal of the revolutionary heroine. The opera will be staged on Friday, which will mark her 101st appearance in the role, with additional performances on Saturday and Sunday.

Having debuted in Beijing in 1964, the Chinese opera was a huge success and toured nationwide. It was adapted from the revolutionary novel Hong Yan (Red Crag) by Luo Guangbin and Yang Yiyan, which recounts the actions of a group of underground Communists and their heroic battle in 1949 on the eve of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

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