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Hybrid Tibetan-Peking Opera set for last days of Olympics
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The story of a princess involved in a political marriage between Tibetan and Han nationalities 1,300 years ago will be dramatized in a mix of Tibetan and Peking operas later this month.

"Princess Wencheng" would be jointly staged by the National Peking Opera Theater and the Tibetan Opera Troupe from Aug. 21 to 23 as one of the key cultural performances during the Beijing Olympic Games, said Liu Can, spokeswoman with the Meilanfang Grand Theater.

The hybrid drama combined the two opera styles' most notable aspects in music, song, costume and other aspects.

"Instruments like drums and cymbals of Tibetan opera will be merged into the orchestra of Peking opera. There will also be duet and harmonic vocals featuring both singing styles," said Liu.

"We will carry on the luxurious visual styles of both operas. Dragon robes and brocades from Peking opera will be presented along with the loose-bodied, luminous Tibetan clothes."

Princess Wencheng, daughter of Emperor Li Shimin of the prosperous Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), was married to Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo when she was 16. The princess, along with a dowry numerous treasures, books, golden furniture and medical equipment, traveled 3,000 kilometers to her new home.

She lived in Tibet for about 40 years and was said to be widely respected for her love of the people. Her statue is still enshrined and worshipped in Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region.

Following the royal marriage and various meetings, the Tibetans and Hans had formed close economic and cultural relations, laying the groundwork for the ultimate unified nation.

The Tibetan roles, including Songtsan Gambo, will be played by professional Tibetan opera actors in its native language, with the Han ethnic roles by Peking opera peers in Mandarin.

(Xinhua News Agency August 12, 2008)

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