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Fujian Opera wins national funding

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2017-02-24

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Fujian Opera wins national funding

Celebrated playwright, Chen Daogui, talks about his latest opera, Justice (Qingtian). [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The Fujian Opera Justice (Qingtian), written by celebrated playwright Chen Daogui, has been selected to receive a grant from the Chinese National Arts Fund (CNAF) which will help propel it to stages across China in the coming year.

The play tells the story of Hai Rui, a Chinese official during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Despite experiencing trials and tribulations Han remains resolute and overcomes temptation to become a model of honesty and integrity.

Fujian playwright Chen Daogui has had a passion for opera since he was a child. The 70-year-old says that he has rarely missed a single opera performance in the local area for nearly 60 years.

Chen's rise to prominence in the Fujian opera culture scene was an unconventional one. Not studying the art form at university and going through the official channels, instead Chen graduated high school in 1967 and became a teacher in a rural community in Fujian.

In his spare time, Chen would bury himself in the works of great authors and famous playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Guan Hanqing, a renowned poet from the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). Inspired by their works, Chen began putting pen to paper himself to write his own plays.

In 1984, Wu Jintai, director of the Pingtan Bureau of Culture was on the lookout for a new playwright to provide the county-backed troupe with new and entertaining material to perform on stage.

Chen managed to get some of his works in front of Wu, who quickly realized the talent that was in front of him. Chen got the job and was signed up as the playwright for the Pingtan troupe.

While realizing his dream, Chen understood that he was now under great pressure to provide the goods. His first play for the troupe, Baihuasi, became an overnight success hailed by scholars and critics alike. Today, the play is regarded as having revitalized the Fuzhou Opera scene at that time.

Baihuasi went on tour for more than 10 years, running from 1984 to 1996.

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