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Artistic Shows Coming to Guangzhou

The South China city Guangzhou will hold more than 100 art performances this year, shrugging off its notorious image as a "cultural desert."

The line-up of performances will include ballet, modern dance, drama, orchestras, acrobatics and puppet shows performed by top domestic troupes and their counterparts from the United States, Russia, Israel, Brazil, Australia and Germany.

The grand series of shows, entitled "Guangzhou Tonight," kicks off Saturday and runs through the end of the year. It is co-sponsored by the Guangzhou municipal government and the Cultural Bureau of Guangzhou.

Top local performance troupes will present new shows and classical repertoires. The Guangzhou Ballet Company, for instance, will premiere Puccini's opera Turandot in the form of a ballet as well as an "ethical" ballet of Mei Lanfang based on the story of the late Peking Opera master.

Various activities to be enjoyed go beyond mere performances.

The Guangzhou Drama Troupe, for example, will invite the provincial drama troupe and national drama troupe on stage together, while a batch of seminars, drama reviews, photography exhibitions will be held to give the series variety.

Puppet shows performed by the Guangzhou Puppet Show Company will include diverse offerings such as seminars on how to make and perform with puppets. Children in the audience will be invited to try.

Top domestic troupes from outside Guangzhou Province to perform include the China Acrobatics Troupe, Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe and the China Song and Dance Troupe.

Audiences fond of foreign performances will be able to enjoy the modern dance from the Paul Tailor Modern Dance Company. Symphony lovers will appreciate works performed by the Russian Orchestra. And opera buffs will find excitement with the Vienna National Opera Theater.

These star-studded shows offer a grand feast to the audience at affordable ticket prices.

"With support from the local government, the approach of 'high-level shows at low prices' will help to form a remarkable performance season, buoy the dormant show business offerings in Guangzhou and cultivate a higher appreciation for art by the local people," said Tao Cheng, deputy director of the Cultural Bureau of Guangzhou.

He added that the number of shows will probably exceed 100 and the variety of the shows will be a blend of the traditional and the modern. "It is the first time for the city to host a year-round performance scheduled in advance, though it is a common practice abroad," Tao said.

"Guangzhou Tonight" is the continuation of last year's art performance series, "Nights in the Zhongshan Memorial Hall," with more shows in more theaters this year.

(China Daily 03/26/2001)

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