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China Revives Kunqu Opera
A national competition for Chinese Kunqu opera artists will be held from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3 in Kunshan and Suzhou, in east China's Jiangsu Province, the birthplaces of the 700-year-old art form.

The competition will be co-sponsored by the Ministry of Culture(MOC) and the provincial government of Jiangsu with financial support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

According to the organizers, 42 Chinese artists from six of China's national Kunqu troupes will stage performances and compete for national awards.

Seven renowned elderly artists will be invited to give lessons to younger artists and to perform together with overseas artists. Experts and artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan will also attend the event.

Feng Yuan, director of the Arts Department of MOC, noted that Kunqu, the oldest form of Chinese folk opera, was honored by UNESCO last year as one of the 19 masterpieces of world oral and non-material heritage.

Feng said the national Kunqu competition is being held to display China's artistic talent, to encourage young artists and to stimulate public interest in the art form.

In recent years, China has made great efforts to revive Kunqu opera. The MOC sponsored a series of performances in Beijing in 1996 as well as the first Chinese Kunqu Festival in 2000.

(Xinhua News Agency October 16, 2002)

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