Shandong Culture

Opera hits right note in Shandong

By Owen Fishwick and Yang Min Updated: 2017-07-05

Lit-up in the footlights and treading the boards, a group of reporters from South, Southeast and Central Asia got the chance to experience Shandong’s 100-year-old Lyu Opera, during a tour of the East China province on July 4.

Eyes were fixed upon the silk-garbed actors as the curtain opened at the Guangrao Lyu Art Opera Center in Guangrao county in the industrial city of Dongying.

For an area famous for its oil, the slick performance impressed the assembled guests who applauded loudly as the piece came to an end. Unknown to the reporters, the show was not over, with the audience invited on stage to try on Lyu Opera costumes and take photographs.

Lyu Opera, listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2008, is renowned for its bright costumes, dramatic singing style and the use of traditional Chinese instruments such as the pipa, zhuiqin, dulcimer and sanxian.

Song Aidong, head of the opera center, said that it was a pleasure to share this unique local heritage with people from other countries, however it is at a grassroots level that she wishes to protect the art form.

“The opera center is a base to promote Lyu Opera, but we also visit local schools too,” Song said. “The children especially like to wear the costumes and play the traditional instruments.”

Guangrao Lyu Art Opera Center was launched in 1953 and has fostered more than 200 local artists as well as hosting some 800 performances.

Sunali Warnakulasuriya, a journalist from Sri Lankan daily newspaper Ceylon Today, said, “This is a great opportunity for us to experience Chinese culture and its protection.”

The Opera visit came on day two of the weeklong Asian Reporters Discover Shandong Tour.

The reporters then headed to the China Sun Zi Cultural Park where they learned about The Art of War – an ancient Chinese military treatise written the 5th century BC by Chinese military strategist Sun Zi.

After soaking up a bit of Shandong culture, the next stops involved learning more about some of Shandong’s key enterprises, such as Kerui, an advanced petrochemical group, and the rubber tire manufacturing arm of Wanda Group.

Both companies detailed their operations domestically and abroad, focusing on countries along the Belt and Road Initiative.

Opera hits right note in Shandong
Lyu Opera performers enthral visiting reporters with their vibrant performance at the Guangrao Lyu Opera Center in Dongying, Shandong province on July 4. [Photo/China Daily]


Opera hits right note in Shandong
A reporter from Thailand is shown how to cut-it as a Lyu Opera performer, during the weeklong Asian Reporters Discover Shandong Tour. [Photo/China Daily]

Opera hits right note in Shandong
A Sri Lankan reporter wears a Lyu Opera costume and poses with a performer on July 4 at Guangrao Opera Center in Shandong province. [Photo/China Daily]

Opera hits right note in Shandong