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Chinese opera celebrates 10 years with nationwide tour

A nationwide tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Chinese opera “Mulan Psalm” has just begun. The first performance, held at the National Center for the Performing Arts, opened the 2014-2015 season for the China National Symphony Orchestra. Here’s a look at why this opera is so popular with audiences.

“Mulan Psalm” is based on a legendary story of a young girl named Mulan who lived in China some 1,500 years ago. In order to retain the family honor, Mulan replaced her ailing father to join the army in disguise as a man, and helped save her country.

The performance combines a vivid blend of Chinese folk music, dance, symphony and martial art... to the delight of local opera lovers.

“It’s really rare to see such a great work among Chinese traditional operas, because it has to appeal to modern audiences, while also keeping that Chinese flavor with folk music,” China National Symphony Orchestra conductor Li Xincao said.

“My daughter loves Hua Mulan. She’s been a huge Mulan fan since she was little, so I took her to watch the opera,” an audience said.

The production, consisting of four parts, reflects the aspiration of all human beings for peace and a better world. The story of Hua Mulan, which has been popular in China for generations, is considered the epitome of the wisdom and goodness of Chinese women.

Guan Xia, the head of the China National Symphony Orchestra, praised the impact of works like Mulan Psalm.

“We enable a group of young talents. The composers completely devote themselves to the production. We aim to produce new works adapted to the modern times and having great influence,” Guan Xia said.

Since its debut in 2004, “Mulan Psalm” has appeared on stages around the world, including in the United States, Austria, Japan, and Russia. To celebrate the opera’s 10th anniversary, the China National Symphony Orchestra now starts a nationwide tour here in China.