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14:16 Sep 29 2011

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Tibet earmarks fund to preserve traditional opera
10:10, July 01, 2010  

Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has earmarked 2 million yuan of special funding to preserve Tibetan opera, the regional government said Wednesday.

The funds would be used to train more performers and upgrade facilities of Tibetan opera troupes, the regional cultural department said in a press release.

The funds would benefit eight schools of Tibetan opera that enjoyed relatively long histories and were more popular among Tibetans, it said.

"These schools are popular in Doilungdeqen County on the outskirts of Lhasa, Namling County of Xigaze, Nedong County of Shannan, and Chagyab County of Qamdo," it said.

Tibetan opera is more than 600 years old, about 400 years older than Peking opera, one of China's more famous cultural treasures.

The performing art featuring vivid face masks, earthy dancing unvarnished singing and colorful costumes is staged for religious festivals and family celebrations.

The survival of the traditional art form is being challenged as some of its unique skills -- especially singing techniques -- have to be handed down through personal contact from generation to generation.

The death of one aged artist might mean the loss of the performance art of one school. Experts say it is imperative to train more young actors.

China stepped up preservation of Tibetan opera in 2005 and has since spent 10 million yuan to shore up village troupes and publish books and videos.

Yet money is still a problem for many village-run troupes with no regular financial sources. Earnings from performances barely cover the living and travel expenses of performers during the performing season, which discourages young people from taking up the art.

Tibetan opera was put on the world heritage list of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2009

Source: China Tibet Information Center


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