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Kunqu Opera master Cai Zhengren

2009-06-18 08:58 BJT


In 2001 at UNESCO, an operatic art was made the first list of World Intangible Cultural Heritages. But fifty years earlier, Kunqu Opera had been at its lowest ebb. For 600 years, it was China's prevalent form of entertainment and inspired many off-shoots. But diversity eventually diluted its power. It seemed that Kunqu Opera was only lingering on. But one man said it was never meant to die. He's Cai Zhengren. From a budding player to a master of the art, Cai Zhengren has played a central role in the revival and rejuvenation of Kunqu.

On Shaoxing Road in downtown Shanghai sits the home of the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe.

A workday here usually begins with a full rehearsal.

Cai Zhengren is its most loyal audience member.

The retired director of the Troupe and an actor himself, Cai is often joined by a circle of students after a strenuous round of preparation.

Cai Zhengren said, "A rigorous inheritance and a vigorous development makes the future of Kunqu Opera."

Throughout his career as a Kunqu performer, Cai was regarded as a rigorous inheritor and an inspiring performer.