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Cantonese Opera artist Ou Kaiming

2009-06-19 09:03 BJT


Yueju Opera, also called Cantonese or Guangdong Opera, is one of the major categories in Chinese opera. It originated in Southern China's Cantonese speaking areas and incorporates martial arts and acrobatics into the singing, dancing and acting. In May 2006, Cantonese Opera made the first China Intangible Culture Heritage list. But don't think the traditional performing art has lost its appeal. On today's the List, we introduce you to Cantonese Opera's staunchest defender, and look at his struggles out of the spotlight.

This is Guangzhou in Southern China, a city with over 22 hundred years of history.

It's here that Cantonese Opera was born.

And today in the shadow of the skyscrapers, in the humid lanes of the old town, come the sounds of gongs and drums.

45-year-old Ou Kaiming comes to practice at this mini theatre every day. His favorite role is Xiang Yu, better known as the self-styled "Xi Chu Ba Wang", the King of Western Chu.

Xiang Yu was one of ancient China's greatest generals. But his ambitions fell in defeat to the troops of Liu Bang, who later became the first emperor of the Han Dynasty. After the final battle, Xiang committed suicide, leaving behind endless legends.