Chinese Opera Highlights Ancient Explorer

Story about Zhang Qian, who helped opening up the Silk Road connecting China and Central Asian and European countries 2,139 ago, was staged in Beijing Sunday.

The only opera participating in the Second National Joint Art Show by Ethnic Minority Groups was hailed as the milestone of China's drama and music circles.

The opera named after the explorer, whose expedition began 1,631 years earlier than Italian Christopher Columbus, was written in 1992 and has so far won a number of major awards. The first Chinese opera without dialogues integrates Chinese ancient, Persian and orchestral music.

Opera expert Liu Zhirong said that Zhang Qian has successfully combined the western opera forms with Chinese music element.

The script writer Zhang Yulong who walked along the Silk Road gathering materials told Xinhua, Zhang Qian opened the connection between the east and west and contributed to China's foreign exchanges.

The opera produced by the Shaanxi Song and Dance Theater has toured around China for nearly 20 performances and visited Singapore in 1996.

(Xinhua News Agency 09/17/2001)

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