Concerts aim to introduce traditional Chinese theater to city's youth
Yuju Opera master Li Shujian is cooperating with traditional Chinese theater artists in a variety of genres to present three charity concerts from Friday to Sunday at the Shanghai Theater Academy and the Workers' Cultural Palace of Songjiang District.
The 61-year-old Li is an inheritor of Yuju Opera, an influential regional theater art and a national intangible cultural heritage.
The three free concerts will feature renowned performing artists and leading figures presenting famous excerpts from different genres of opera, including Peking Opera, Kunqu Opera, Yueju Opera, and Shanghai farce.
It is also an effort by the artists to promote traditional theater at colleges to cultivate young students' enthusiasm for the time-honored art.
On October 21 and 22, Li will also stage the Yuju Opera classic "The Qingfeng Pavilion" at the 2023 Great Theater of China Theater Festival.
During his career, Li has been invited to perform at China Central Television's Spring Festival gala many times. He is a winner of the Wenhua Award and the Plum Blossom Award, China's top honor for performing arts and traditional opera artists.
Over the past decades, Li has devoted his time to the inheritance and spread of the art worldwide.
So far, he and his students have brought the art form to around 30 countries and regions in the world, including the United States, Russia, and Egypt. Li now has over 200 students including three foreign students.
Li said the art form of China's Henan Province has a history of more than 300 years. Every year around 200,000 Yuju Opera performances are staged in China. More than 100,000 people have taken up careers in Yuju Opera at the country's about 2,260 Yuju Opera companies.
"In terms of the opera's rising popularity in Shanghai, we will cooperate with local institutions and cultural venues to introduce the art form to more people in the city," Li said.