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Legendary figure's tale comes to the stage

By CHENG YUEZHU | China Daily | Updated: 2023-05-20 08:41
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Director Wang Yongqing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"As members of the Tan family, we feel a deep sense of responsibility to pass down the valuable cultural legacy left by our ancestors," Tan Xiaozeng says.

"The promotion and advancement of an art form depend on a collective effort, because art doesn't belong to any individual or family, but to society as a whole."

Wang categorizes the production as "free-form theater", which chooses or combines different forms of artistic expression, such as traditional opera, drama, dance and music, to match the events or characters depicted.

"It's not an original genre, rather, it's simply my understanding of theater productions. In my opinion, theater is an unrestricted art form. A sense of freedom also lies in the aesthetics of traditional opera," Wang says.

"As long as it's in line with my core message, the overall style and the aesthetics, any artistic form can be thoughtfully incorporated into the production."

According to Fu Jin, professor of the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts and also an artistic adviser to the production, Tan Xinpei played an indispensable role in helping Peking Opera reach its prime.

"The achievements of Tan Xinpei lie not only in that he founded his own style, but also in that he was a great master who laid the foundation for the aesthetics of Peking Opera," Fu says.

"This production specifically focuses on the most important period of Tan's life, when he had the closest connection with modern China's social development. He was a great artist of that era, and exerted his influence on the Chinese society at the time."

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