Where the past is a lesson for the future

Updated: 2014-10-02 07:33

By Huang Zhiling in Chengdu(China Daily)

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Food and lodging is free for the students during their four years of study because of an allocation of more than 1 million yuan ($161,290) from the government each year. Students study Chinese, history, geography and English but major in singing, posture expression, martial arts and ballet.

"Young and middle-aged performers in my troupe as well as retired masters like Wei Yixin teach the students," Wang said.

Wei, 78, has devoted his life to the young male role an disamaster in his field. Each week, he spends three half days training students in the opera class.

"He is patient. When he finds a student suitable for a particular role, he will try his best to teach him, "said He Zhengmao, another student in the Sichuan Opera class.

Thanks to Wei, the 12-year-old student from a farmer's family in Lanxi county in Sichuan is doing well in the young male role.

While most students had no knowledge of Sichuan Opera before they were recruited, a few are from families whose parents are performers or grandparents are lovers of the Sichuan Opera.

Liang is from Yongchuan county in neighboring Chongqing municipality. Her grandmother is an amateur performer.

Liang, who is excellent at female martial arts, fractured a toe in a training session last year. "Injury is common in training sessions. I do not regret learning Sichuan Opera," she said.

Contact the writer at huangzhiling@chinadaily.com.cn

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