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'The White Haired Girl' staged in Shenzhen

Updated: 2021-09-27 10:03 ( chinadaily.com.cn )
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A scene from Chinese opera  The White Haired Girl. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Chinese opera The White Haired Girl by China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater entertained audiences in Shenzhen through two performances on Sept 25 and 26.

The story centers on the life of Xi'er, a girl born to a humble life in Shaanxi province. Chinese opera artist Lei Jia plays the protagonist Xi'er.

Xi'er escapes to hide deep in mountains after her father Yang Bailao is killed by the greedy and cruel debt collector Huang Shiren.

Due to her difficult circumstances and prolonged malnutrition, she loses the vitality of her youth, causing her hair to change color. The birth of a new China ultimately allows her to lead a normal life once again.

The opera, composed by Yan Jinxuan, was first performed in 1945 with artist Wang Kun in the leading role. It was the first Chinese opera composed after Chairman Mao Zedong's speech at the Yan'an Forum on Literature and Art in 1942, which is regarded as a milestone in the development of Chinese theater.

Since then, a number of remakes of the opera have appeared, including a Peking Opera performance in 1958, a ballet version in 1965, as well as an opera starring soprano Guo Lanying and a film adaptation in 1950.

In 2015, the year marking the 70th anniversary of the debut of The White Haired Girl, a new version of the opera emerged with Lei Jia in the leading role.

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