Opera fights tough battle for shrinking attention spans –


Shao Tianshuai, a Kunqu Opera actress of the Northern Kunqu Opera Theatre in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

At the corner of a rehearsal room, Shao Tianshuai, 34, a Kunqu Opera actress of the Northern Kunqu Opera Theatre in Beijing, practices gestures while singing the same lines over and over again.

In the age of the selfie, no such rehearsal can be complete without a mobile phone, although here Shao uses it not for vanity but as a tool for recording, reviewing and improving her performance.

After a theater closure lasting three months due to COVID-19, performance-deprived actors and actresses are back on stage and hard at rehearsal. For Shao, one of the most important tasks is to finish rehearsing for Legend of the Golden Magpie, whose premiere had originally been scheduled for March.

At the center of the room, director Zhang Peng hashes out details with the leading actor. By now Shao has finished her part, but is in no mood to leave.

“Though the date for the drama to be staged is not yet known, we want to be fully prepared,” she said.

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