Traditional Chinese opera features many schools, including Peking Opera and Kunqu Opera—both are listed as World Intangible Cultural Heritage—as well as hundreds of local types across the country.
However, nowadays entertainment has become more diversified and the space for traditional Chinese opera to develop is narrowing. A faster pace of life has also altered the people's perspective and some forms of Chinese opera are dying; many opera performers are leaving the stage and the audience is shrinking. Traditional Chinese opera faces the unprecedented challenge to remain relevant.
Traditional Chinese opera requires not only a huge amount of time, but also a deep understanding of traditional Chinese culture, philosophy, literature, performance, music, singing, instruments, makeup and costumes. Competition from online games and videos, plus TV and movies, make it less attractive. For these reasons, it is difficult to keep Chinese opera alive in the information era.
Developing and carrying on the tradition of Chinese opera is not merely protecting a single art form; it's about protecting China's national heritage and values.
Fortunately, there are still those who love and devote themselves to the heritage and development of traditional Chinese opera to continue those performing art forms for future generations.
Some opera troupes are developing new ways of spreading opera and attracting new audiences by embracing the digital era. Some troupes film their performances and post them online to attract a younger audience. Through modern technology, traditional Chinese opera is being brought closer to everyone's everyday life.
Much exploration and many attempts have been undertaken to preserve and evolve traditional Chinese Opera. Furthermore, young people are becoming more and more proud of traditional Chinese culture, and consider it the nation's root and power source. By adapting to the times and moving forward through bold innovation, traditional Chinese opera will surely find its way to entertain future generations. BR
(Print Edition Title: The Future of Tradition)