LIFE / CULTURE
China’s traditional Huaiju Opera turns to high-tech means to create immersive experience for audiences
Published: Sep 13, 2022 06:45 PM
A creative multi-dimensional immersive Huaiju Opera show <em>Jiulong Immersive</em> (Jiulongjuxi) is performed in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province during China's National holiday from October 1 to 7, 2022.

A creative multi-dimensional immersive Huaiju Opera show Jiulong Immersive (Jiulongjuxi) is performed in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province during China's National holiday from October 1 to 7, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of Chnagchang


A creative multi-dimensional immersive Huaiju Opera show Jiulong Immersive (Jiulongjuxi) is set to debut in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province during China's National holiday from October 1 to 7.

The show, mixing tradition and high technology, will be performed at Jiulongkou, China's well-known water town and the wetland park from October 1.
 
Jiulong Immersive
 is an adaptation of the modernized Huaiju Opera Small Town, which depicts the beautiful scenery and thrilling stories connected to Jiulongkou, a small town in Jiangsu Province. The town is famous for the great legend about how the Dragon King of the East China Sea sent his nine sons to eliminate the demon known as the Black Python. Each of the young dragons left a scar on the demon that became one of the town's nine rivers.

The new opera tells the story of an old entrepreneur who arrives in the small 1,000-year-old town and offers a reward of 5 million yuan ($722,000) to find the person who rescued him many years ago.

The huge amount of money entices the local villagers and presents a challenge to their moral foundations. 

Of note, the show is a combination of digital technology and local traditional culture. 

A creative multi-dimensional immersive Huaiju Opera show <em>Jiulong Immersive</em> (Jiulongjuxi) is performed in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province during China's National holiday from October 1 to 7, 2022.

A creative multi-dimensional immersive Huaiju Opera show Jiulong Immersive (Jiulongjuxi) is performed in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province during China's National holiday from October 1 to 7, 2022.  Courtesy of Chnagchang


The immersive experience uses high-tech stage dressing to create a feeling of "walking inside a picture" for audiences. The stage also establishes a specific space for audiences to interact with the actors, who will perform traditional skills such as bianlian (face changing).

The 3D visual effects and projections will be combined with auxiliary props such as water and fire cannons to make the performance feel more real.

"The performance focuses on bringing the excellent traditional Chinese culture hidden within Huaiju Opera to the fore. Through these interactive performances, we also hope to bring positivity to the public audiences who come to see our show," Gao Yan, director of the show, told media.

"And that is what our crew members aims to do all the time: Bring more excellent works full of 'positive energy' to audiences," Gao added.

Also known as Jianghuai Plays, Huaiju Opera is one of the major operas in Jiangsu Province. It rose to popularity in Jiangsu and around the Shanghai area around 100 years ago. The city of Huai'an, the birthplace of the art form, currently boasts four professional Huaiju Opera troupes.

Huaiju Opera originated from rural work songs and later absorbed elements from Kunqu Opera and Anhui Opera to become what it is today, and has been listed as China's Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Representative works of Huaiju Opera include The Legend of White Snake, Generals of the Yang Family, Teeth Mark Story and Qin Xianglian.

Global Times 
A creative multi-dimensional immersive Huaiju Opera show <em>Jiulong Immersive</em> (Jiulongjuxi) is performed in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province during China's National holiday from October 1 to 7, 2022.

A creative multi-dimensional immersive Huaiju Opera show Jiulong Immersive (Jiulongjuxi) is performed in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province during China's National holiday from October 1 to 7, 2022. Courtesy of Chnagchang