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New style for Tibetan operas

Updated: 2019-12-09 10:45:28

( Xinhua )

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In 2006, Tibetan opera was included in the first batch of national-level intangible cultural heritages, three years before its recognition by the UNESCO.

To mark the 10th anniversary of its UNESCO listing, the troupe is driving the "modernization" of traditional operas, by integrating them with advanced stage technologies, using digital means for filing and spread, and creating modern plays.

"Creating a new play usually takes two years, and needs an up-front investment of more than 2 million yuan ($284,000). But new plays are more modern and are easy to be accepted by the masses," said Bamdien Wangjo.

He has been working in the troupe for 24 years and is the first Tibetan opera artist to receive the Plum Blossom Prize, the top theatre award in China.

"It's not only a personal honor but more importantly, the status and influence of Tibetan operas as a whole is elevated," he said.

Besides the troupe, the autonomous region has 153 folk Tibetan opera performing groups. The regional culture department said the central and local governments have invested nearly 50 million yuan in its protection and inheritance, and another 24 million yuan in the construction of related facilities.

Tibet now supports 12 national inheritors with a subsidy of 20,000 yuan a year, and 15 regional inheritors with 10,000 yuan a year.

"We will receive 1.5 million yuan in subsidies from the government as long as we put on 60 performances next year," said Penpa Sinoh, head of a folk opera team in Lhasa. He said the days of his group members running restaurants and driving taxis to support themselves are over.

Thanks to the booming tourism industry, the troupe does not have to depend on government subsidies to make ends meet. In November, 28 performers in Penpa Sinoh's group were invited to give touring performances in Beijing, Tianjin, Chengdu and other cities. When the tour ended, each of them had earned about 7,000 yuan.

"With the support from the government and market, we are confident to pass along the heritage," Penpa Sinoh said.

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