China's local opera troupe stages performance in Nairobi amid growing Sino-Kenyan ties

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A thrilling performance of Wu Opera by a troupe from east China's Zhejiang Wu Opera Research Center showcased Chinese dramas and musical compositions to the delight of the audience in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Tuesday night.

Hasnick Omondi, a student at the University of Nairobi where he is pursuing a degree in the Chinese language and tourism, praised the performance for the vivid depiction of the rich culture of China.

"I was motivated to watch China's local opera, and see what I have been learning in class," Omondi said.

Felix Kiplagat, a student at the University of Nairobi, said the performance was an enlightening experience because of the use of traditional Chinese cultural costumes and instruments to entertain the audience.

The 23-year-old student said Chinese culture is gaining popularity in Kenya as more and more locals get an opportunity to watch live performances by Chinese artists.

Wu Opera, also known as Jinhua Opera, has a history of more than 500 years and is the second major regional operatic genre in Zhejiang Province. It first grew in popularity in Jinhua and its surrounding areas, and was named after Wuzhou, the name of Jinhua in ancient China.

The Zhejiang Wu Opera troupe showcased nine performances, including the "9-Pieced Segmented Dragon", Suona Solo "Picking Dates", "the Sedan Ride" and "Three Triumphs Over the Skeletal Demon", using well-choreographed and acrobatic moves.

Michael Pundo, chief executive officer of the Kenya Cultural Center, said the traditional Chinese performance enlightened Kenyans about the classical rhythms and melodies of China.

Lou Sheng, a Wu Opera actor, said he was pleased to be in Kenya because it is his first visit to the East African country. He revealed that the repertoire for Africa was carefully selected to include martial arts, which have intense movements so as to enhance the experience of the audience.

"We hope that through the performance, we can establish a real communication with African audience so that they can fall in love with traditional Chinese culture," he added.

The event, which was jointly sponsored by the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, the Bureau of International Exchanges and Cooperation of the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism as well as the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, aims to further improve bilateral ties as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Kenya.

Wang Xiaoping, director of the Zhejiang Wu Opera Research Center, said he hoped that the performance will help deepen the Kenyan audience's understanding of Chinese culture, and promote people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

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