NCPA celebrates its sweet 16

Updated: Dec 5, 2023 By Chen Nan China Daily Print
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The Wild Rhododendron, the latest Chinese opera by the National Centre for the Performing Arts, premiered in Beijing on Nov 22. CHINA DAILY

Global venue and hub stages monthlong program of events to thank loyal audiences, Chen Nan reports.

Around 100 performances will be staged in a month at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts to mark the institution's 16th anniversary, which falls on Dec 22.

Celebrations kicked off with The Wild Rhododendron, the latest Chinese opera produced by the NCPA, which premiered on Nov 22 and ran until Sunday.

Set against the backdrop of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), it tells the story of a boy hero, Pan Dongzi. Pan's father joins the Red Army to go to war and leaves his son a red star, the symbol of the Communist Party of China. Pan's mother is martyred while protecting her comrades and, after her death, through his own wit and bravery, the young boy helps Red Army guerrillas to defeat the enemy, and finally achieves his dream of becoming a Red Army soldier.

Adapted from Li Xintian's novel, Sparkling Red Star, the opera was composed by Zhang Qianyi. In 1974, the novel was made into a movie by the August First Film Studio, and was very popular with Chinese audiences.

Fu Gengchen, the movie's composer, has been invited to join the opera as music director. Sopranos Lei Jia and Wang Zhe and tenors Wang Hongwei and Wang Kai are among the leading cast members. Conducted by Zhang Guoyong, the China NCPA Orchestra, the China NCPA Chorus and NCPA resident singers perform as part of the opera.

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