Opera to honor preserver of Dunhuang Mogao Caves

The story of Fan Jinshi, who spent half a century fighting to preserve the ancient Buddhist wall paintings at Dunhuang in northwest China's Gansu Province, will be staged in May. 

The story of Fan Jinshi, who spent half a century fighting to preserve the ancient Buddhist wall paintings at Dunhuang in northwest China's Gansu Province, will be staged at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center in Pudong New Area in May.

A rehearsal of Huju Opera "Daughter of Dunhuang" was held in Xuhui District over the weekend, providing a preview into the portrait of 80-year-old Fan, the third director of the Dunhuang Research Institute who was born and grew up in Shanghai. The rehearsal was open to the public.

Archaeologist Fan was sent to Dunhuang after graduation from Peking University in 1963 and decided to stay in Dunhuang. Living in an abandoned temple, Fan devoted herself to protecting the treasures from sand and dampness.

The opera, performed by Shanghai Huju Theater, will be staged on May 23 for the first time. The team from the opera visited Dunhuang many times over the past five years to present the most realistic scene of Dunhuang.

"The performance will give audiences a brand new impression of traditional Shanghai opera by introducing different styles of art in music and stage setting," said Mao Shanyu, director of the theater who will be the lead performer in the opera.

The 1,600-year-old Dunhuang Mogao Caves are a huge collection of Buddhist art with more than 2,000 Buddha figures and 45,000 square meters of paintings spread among 735 caves.

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