Major fund to preserve rare operas in Shanxi

Updated: 2023-03-30

A preservation fund totaling 21.25 million yuan ($3.08 million) is to be allocated for promoting the inheritance and development of rare provincial operas in North China's Shanxi province.

That's according to an announcement made by the Shanxi Provincial Department of Finance on March 22, which said it will coordinate with central government subsidy funds and its own resources and will disburse funds to various cities and counties.

As one of the birthplaces of Chinese opera, Shanxi enjoys the reputation of being the cradle of the art, having been at the center of opera since the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

According to the 2016 National Census of Local Operas, there are 38 living operas there, which ranks Shanxi first among the provinces. Of these, 31 have been designated as rare operas - in terms of their coverage areas, audience sizes and inheritance groups.

The province's cultural and tourism department will organize public performances involving the 31 rare operas and 67 theater troupes through the use of the funds.

With an estimated staging cost of 5,000 yuan per performance, an opera inherited by a single troupe can be staged 100 times per year, with 50 stage performances annually for multiple troupes. It's calculated that the number of public performances will reach 4,250 every year through the government's preservation program.

It's also expected that troupes will be able to gradually improve their survival and development and boost the quality of casts and crews, as their increased acting substitutes for rehearsals. Another bonus will be that rural residents will be able to enjoy more local opera performances.