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Chongyang Folk Culture: The Tiqin Opera Writes a Splendid Page
http://English.xianning.gov.cn 10-09-08
 

  Reported by Song Zhiqiang and She Shuaibing (www.xnnews.com.cn

  Culture is the soul of a person; culture is also the root of a place.

  In recent years, mass recreational and sports activities in Chongyang are unprecedentedly lively, such as singing Tiqin Opera, Dragon-boat race, beating drums, Dragon Lantern Dance, which are rich and colorful. Especially in this year, the biennial Tiqin Opera Festival, a large-scale song and dance drama Junshui River and Tiancheng Town which reflects the regional folk customs and characteristics of Chongyang County, and three films, namely The Tale of the White Serpent, Twin Lotuses and Keep Waiting, push cultural undertakings of Chongyang to a new peak.

  1. The Song and Dance Drama "Junshui River and Tiancheng Town” is Ready to Come Out.

  Early in 2010, Chongyang County Party Committee and Government made a decision that they would create a large-scale song and dance drama Junshui River and Tiancheng Town with a total estimated investment of 5 million yuan, and listed it on the list of the top ten events in the whole country. The news set tongues wagging at one time.

  Chongyang is a Province-level Poverty-Stricken County. The annual cultural input of the county used to be very limited. Will it be worthwhile to pay so much money of 5 million yuan to make this drama and how to explain to the county’s people if it fails? In the voices of doubt, the County Party Committee and Government considered that if they do not practice and explore, the situation would never change. Now, what Chongyang needs most is to update its concepts, and speed up its development. If we can take advantage of the song and dance drama to inherit and promote the local culture of Chongyang, enhancing the people’s confidence to accelerate the development, it is worthwhile to spend such a sum of money.

  In early March, a leading group of the drama was established. Chen Wubin, the county magistrate, serves as the group leader. Selecting people to form a working special team and all work is in an orderly way. They invited the national first-class director Yao Xiaoming, the national first-class composer Wang Yuanping, the national first-degree screenwriter Wang Zhili, the national first-class stage artistic designer Wang Yiming and so on, who constituted the choreographer team. In the end of May, they recruited openly 48 actors and conducted intensive training. In the meanwhile, they also invited well-known literary and artistic figures inside and outside Hubei province, held 16 forums about the drama, discussed together about the folk customs of Chongyang, and collected over 60 related projects and more than 30,000-word brief introduction. At the forums, Chen Qunlin, the County Party Committee Secretary, concluded a “Ten-One” suggestion, namely, “A Drop of Water” (Constant Dripping Wears a Stone.), “A Spring”(Guihua Spring),”A Stream”(Taohua Stream), “A Hill”( Huitou Hill), “A Dialect”(Chongyang Dialect), “A Song”(Chongyang Folk Song), “An Opera”(Chongyang Tiqin Opera), “A Drum”(Chongyang Bronze Drum), “A Road”(Ancient Tea and Hemp Route), and ”A Town”(Tiancheng Town), which set the keynote for this drama. Now, the total direction and structure is finalized. There are 15 program sessions in total, namely a prelude, 13 scenes in the middle, and an epilogue. The design of actors' lines and background music drew to a close, and its arrangement and direction has already began. The drama will give a formal performance publicly before the end of this year.

  Wang Xiangyang, the Director General of the Bureau of Culture and Sports of Chongyang, felt the great responsibility and told the reporter, “We know Deep in the Clouds of Tongshan, Pursuit a dream in Xianning of the Xianning City, A Small Bridge over the Flowing Stream with Osmanthus Fragrance of Xian’an District, and such successful experience provide us with reference. We strive to learn from each other, have a higher starting point and a stricter requirement. We are fully confident to achieve new breakthroughs.”

  2. The Tiqin Opera Festival Is Getting Better and Better

  When it comes to the Tiqin Opera, every person of Chongyang is never tired of talking about it with enthusiasm. With a big delight, they will sing a few words while claping the tune. The Tiqin Opera with strong local characteristics is a unique miracle of more than 300 traditional operas in China. The common people like to watch and listen to it.

  The operas that are performed by the Tiqin Opera Troupe of the Cultural Centre of Chongyang, such as Twin Lotuses, Lantern Lamp, An Artful Reunion, have been recorded as information pack and saved by Provincial Art Research Institute. Except for the official troupe, there are also many other troupes which are organized by farmers themselves spontaneously, such as "Family troupe," “Mothers and Daughters-in-law Troupe” , “Father and Son Troupe” and various forms of amateur Tiqin Opera troupes that are held by the county, towns ,villages, groups, and self-employed businessmen and these troupes perform on stage one after another. At its peak, there were more than 2,000 amateur actors, over 3,000 performances in a year, and millions of audience. In 1999, Culture Department of Hubei Province named the county as the "Hometown of Folk Art (Tiqin Opera) in Hubei ". In 2000, the Cultural Ministry named it as the "Hometown of Folk Art (Tiqin Opera) in China”.

  As early as 1985, the county set up Chongyang County Tiqin Opera Association, and developed more than 200 members. The association often organizes and coaches rural troupes to perform, holds amateur Tiqin Opera activities to promote the performance. In 1992, the County Party Committee and Government made a decision that the county would host a Tiqin Opera Festival every two years, getting the amateur troupes together to exchange skills, learn from each other and improve together. It has so far successfully held 9 sessions of Tiqin Opera Festival.

  In early April of 2010, the country held a special meeting, firstly proposed that they should put the Tiqin Opera Festival into the range of the whole province, and even the whole country for its locating, turn it into a “provincial first-class and national influential” pageant, make it become a business card for foreign exchange. At present, preparatory work of the Tiqin Opera Festival is well underway.

  The party and government departments attach importance to it, and the Cultural Department exerts its functional role well. They take the development of Tiqin Opera career as an important task to develop the construction of rural culture well, complete the establishment of a Counseling Program and Research Program, and organize the excavation, sorting, and innovation on Tiqin Opera. They collected more than 2 million-word Tiqin Opera materials. A variety of board tune singing, string music, band music, drum music that old artists uesd in the Tiqin Opera performance were made into data tapes for the research and teaching of the Tiqin Opera.

  In order to strengthen the amateur troupes’ development in rural areas, the Cultural Department of the county conducted a filing management of the troupe's scale, clothing and props, repertoires, performances, income, etc. Most of the rural troupes are equipped with lighting, sound, subtitles, moving stage facilities and so on, and costumes, props are also constantly updated.

  Now,  the troupes whose lineup are relatively in good order, performance facilities are relatively complete, and which has reached certain quality of the performances, are up to 70% of the county's 92 rural troupes. They are active in the counties and towns, walk in the mountains and rivers, and come to perform right away when people need them. They have become a vital force in the local rural cultural construction.

  3. Landscape Culture Attracts the Film The Tale of the White Serpent

  When it comes to Chongyang’s cultural treasures, Zhou Xieguang, the Standing Member of the County Committee and Minister of the Publicity Department, is familiar with this subject. He also tells the reporter a message that, the first domestic 3D film has finalized Chongyang as the scene, which is expected to hold the starting-up ceremony in mid-September. It’s said that The Tale of the White Serpent, a mainstream movie, takes a classical legend as the theme, is integrated with love story, 3D special effect and action, and is invested and made by China Juli Entertainment Media Co., LTD. Huang Shengyi (Eva Huang) will play the role of Bai Suzhen, and the international movie star Jet Li will play the role of Fa Hai in this film. At that time, there will be a lot of stars gathering in Chongyang, which has clear water and green hills.

  In late May, Qi Bin, the producer of the film, accompanied by Chongyang County Party Committee leaders, took a field trip deep into the Bamboo Forest of Hongxia Village, Calm Lake of Qianshan Town, Big Spring Cave, Dajue Temple, Xianshan Reservoirs and other places. He thought that Chongyang was a very suitable place which met the needs of this film.

  “This is a good start, and is of great significance.” Zhou Xieguang told reporters happily. Now, the people that came to Chongyang for tourism and investment is becoming more and more, and what attract them are not only the beautiful mountains, and charming scenery, but also the magical folk culture of Chongyang. They feel Chongyang’s soul lying in the mountains, and Chongyang’s spirituality lying in the water. Chongyang’s landscape absorbs the nimbus of the universe and the essence of the sun and the moon, which cultivates the industrious and ingenious Chongyang people and creates the long history and the modern civilization of Chongyang.

  The film The Tale of the White Serpent chose Chongyang as its scene. According to the story plot and structure, Xu Xian’s house, Leifeng Pagoda, Jinshan Temple, West Lake, White Snake Cave will be built in Chongyang, leaving to Chongyang a large number of new cultural scenic spots, and further enhancing the reputation of the the Chongyang landscape culture, equivalent to the effect of a 50 million yuan investment in publicity.

  Driven by the publicity effect of the film, Twin Lotuses and Keeping Waiting are expected to be stationed in Chongyang for their live-action shootings. “In the future, one or two movies or TV series will choose to shoot in Chongyang every year, and Chongyang’s business card as film and TV location will be more popular.” Zhou Xieguang said.

  The county also seizes the opportunity to publicize and promote Chongyang and to enrich the local tourism and cultural resources by the film and television culture platform. During the “12th Five-Year Plan” period, Chongyang County plans to build a cultural and industrial county, tentatively sets the construction site on the east of the Chongyang Tiancheng Theatre, between “the Secondary Road of the Chong Road” and the “Large White Wave Mouth Hotspring Holiday Scenic Resort”, thus forming a cultural industry street connected with Hangzhou-Ruili Expressway and Chifeng-Tongliao Expressway. The cultural and industrial city will cover an total area of 1000 Mu(about 666,666 square meters), including the construction area of 600 Mu (396,000 square meters, accounting for 60% of the planned land), the landscaping area of 400 Mu (264,000 square meters, accounting for 40% of the planned land). The total investment is 483 million yuan. It is divided into several areas to construct, namely, film shooting bases, culture and entertainment bases, printing industrial bases, tourism and leisure bases. We combine the construction of the cultural industries with the tourism development, and carve out a path of cultural tourism prospers the county.


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