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Young talents inject new life into old Dian opera

Young performers are bringing fresh energy to Dian Opera, a very special performance in south-eastern China.

This is a classic piece of Dian opera called The Lady Generals of the Yang Family. What makes it special is that the average age of the performers is only 20 years old. It brings fresh youthful energy to the stage.

“It’s great to see so many young performers on the stage, this is definitely a highlight of the show. It brings new hope to Dian Opera,” says Zhang Yong, Dian opera practitioner.

The scope of selection for Dian opera performers has been expanded. These performers are chosen from martial arts schools instead of the more traditional source of theatre schools. The average age of performers for Dian opera is 60 years old, they shoulder the task of passing on the art form.

“We have a lot of trouble passing on the opera and the number of people interested in it is also declining,” says Wang Yuzhen, Dian opera artist.

To address the issue, Dian opera performers have been promoting the art by inviting young people to the theatre and experiencing the atmosphere. University students have also been invited and the reception is impressive.

“How can they like it if they’ve never seen it? I believe it is a very attractive art form and we just have to get it out there,” Wang says.

Many young people say they are attracted to the singing and the postures of the performers on stage. But there is still a long way to go in reviving traditional culture in the digital age dominated by pop culture.