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Opera star to shine in inspirational roles

Updated: 2021-11-26 09:33 ( China Daily )
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Han (right, front row) stars in another classic piece, The Emperor's Female Son-in-Law, which will be staged on Saturday and Sunday in the capital.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Han Zaifen, one of China's most acclaimed Huangmei Opera artists, brings two pieces to the capital, along with actors and actresses of Anqing Zaifen Huangmei Opera Art Theater.

From Wednesday to Friday, she is performing the lead role in a contemporary Huangmei Opera piece, titled Immortal Heroine Yang Kaihui, which portrays Yang Kaihui (1901-30), the revolutionary martyr and wife of Chairman Mao Zedong.

On Saturday and Sunday, Han will play a major role in the classic Huangmei Opera piece, The Emperor's Female Son-in-Law, which tells the story of Feng Suzhen, a woman who pretends to be a man in order to participate in the imperial examination and meet the emperor to save her imprisoned fiance.

According to Han, founder and president of the Anqing Zaifen Huangmei Opera Art Theater, the two Huangmei Opera pieces showcase the beauty of the old art form to audiences, who will see the traditional singing, choreography and movements as well as the new arrangements.

Premiered on July 21 in Hefei, East China's Anhui province, Immortal Heroine Yang Kaihui tells the story of Yang, who joined the Communist Party of China in the early 1920s and was killed by the Kuomintang at the age of 29.

"We went to Hunan province to visit Kaihui town, Yang's birthplace, to learn more about her story," recalls Han. "Huangmei Opera is known for its lyrical singing and for using everyday language, which makes it easy for audiences to understand the characters. It helps to tell her story."

Han adds that the new piece was created to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.

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