Peking Opera arrives in Britain for its debut in Liverpool

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The China National Peking Opera Company was given a civic reception in Liverpool Wednesday to mark the company's first ever tour to a provincial British city.

It marks the company's first visit to Britain for 10 years, with performances in Liverpool of two of its masterpieces, Warrior Women of Yang, and the full-length European premiere of Farewell My Concubine.

After the performances later this week the company will continue their British tour to London.

Liverpool Lord Mayor Tony Conception hosted a civic reception for the opera company at the city's 18th century town hall.

During the reception two leading members of the company, Zhu Hong and Liu Kui-kui, in full costumes, performed a taster of what the Liverpool audiences will enjoy on Friday and Saturday.

Li Sheng-su, Head of the Number 1 Troupe of the China National Peking Company said in a speech how the visit to Liverpool came just weeks after President Xi Jinping paid his successful state visit to Britain.

"This year is UK-China Year and the President's state visit opened a new pattern in the China-UK partnership, she told guests at the reception, stressing the importance of culture and creativeness in both countries.

Lord Mayor Conception said: "This will be a unique opportunity in Liverpool to see the National Peking Opera Company. We are grateful Liverpool for chosen as the first city outside of London for the performances."

The Lord Mayor reminded the guests that Liverpool's links with China go back to before 1834, with the friendship continuing with the city's close links with its sister city of Shanghai.

Kevin Zhang, director of Sinolink, which has arranged the tour, said: "The opera company is delighted to be performing in Liverpool, a city famed for its culture and history."

The rarely seen spectacular Warrior Women of Yang is a story of grief, courage, patriotism and family loyalty. A cast of over fifty will mesmerize the audience with music, song, mime, exquisite costumes and painted faces whilst amazing the audience with stage combat and acrobatics.

Farewell My Concubine is a renowned classical piece, a beautiful and harrowing story of political unrest, love, sacrifice and honour. Audiences are entranced by what is an immense love story and the consequences of lost battles and pride. Endit

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