Two opera performances by students were showcased at the Mei Lanfang Theater in Beijing over Friday and Saturday, as part of the Fourth National Youth Peking Opera Education and Teaching Achievement Exhibition and Performance, also known as the Lihua Cup.
The exhibition, running from Friday to May 18, aims to promote and recognize achievements in youth opera education and teaching across China.
This year's Lihua Cup will adopt an innovative approach that combines both online and offline displays, incorporating prerecorded and live broadcasts. Hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the exhibition will be held in four cities: Beijing; Nanjing, Jiangsu province; Wuhan, Hubei province; and Jinan, Shandong province.
Liu Dongyan, an official from the ministry, says the event is intended to foster communication and learning among professional Chinese opera education and teaching institutions in the country. The goal is to continually improve the quality of Chinese opera education and performance standards, and to cultivate exceptional young talent in the field.
In December 2021, the ministry issued a notice, according to which, after the online registration and initial recommendation by provincial cultural and tourism administrative departments, and final evaluation by the ministry, the selected programs were eventually confirmed to participate.
The fourth Lihua Cup was originally scheduled to take place in 2022, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed to this year.
Liu says a total of 84 student programs were selected to participate in this exhibition, showcasing 27 types of traditional Chinese opera. Of these, 24 are Peking Opera programs, accounting for 29 percent of the selected programs. The remaining 26 types of traditional Chinese opera are regional art forms from different areas of the country.
Liu says one highlight of this year's exhibition is the inclusion of professional Chinese opera instrumental players for the first time.
"It also provides an opportunity for Chinese opera teachers to showcase their excellent professional demonstration courses and stage practice programs. For the first time, a symposium on Chinese opera education and teaching will be held during the exhibition," Liu says.
Zhang Yao, vice-president of the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, says the exhibition will feature the traditional Chinese opera teaching method of "oral transmission and spiritual instruction", as well as interactions between teachers and students.
"In the segment on opera education, we will invite experts and scholars from art colleges, theater troupes and research institutions to attend a seminar," Zhang says.
The experts will delve into topics, including the standardization of teaching drama performances, the development of teaching methods and textbooks for basic skills, the implementation of individualized teaching methods for training talent in the new era, and the cultivation of opera teachers.
The fifth Lihua Cup is scheduled to be held in 2025.