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Traditional opera takes a tech turn

Updated: 2024-02-24 12:15 ( China Daily )
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With livestream cameras set up, the production team is in action in a rehearsal hall of Heshan District's Huaguxi Troupe in Yiyang, Hunan province.[Photo by Guo Liliang/For China Daily]

In a makeshift rehearsal hall in Yiyang, Hunan province, actors in elaborate costumes of Huaguxi (flower drum opera) are producing a livestream. Since their first post on short-video platform Douyin in February 2022, their account has attracted 100,000 followers and 647,000 thumbs-up.

Huaguxi is one of Hunan's traditional art forms and the troupe have built up an increasing online following with their classical repertoire, which is based on the traditional tales of filial piety and loyalty.

In 2008, the dramatic art form was declared a national intangible cultural heritage.

As a member of Heshan District's Huaguxi Troupe, Huang Guiquan never faced much difficulty as a performer before the COVID-19, but as nearly every venue was empty due to pandemic control, he began to feel anxious and confused.

In an attempt to keep going, the troupe's head, Li Zhengliang, decided to move performances online. Their first live broadcast took place on May 19, 2022, and attracted more than 10,000 viewers.

"It was exciting to see so many people watching us," 22-year-old performer Tang Bowen says.

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