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Premiered: Shaoxing Opera's 'Journey to the West'

ezhejiang.gov.cn| Updated: January 17, 2024 L M S

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Shaoxing Opera's Flame Mountain debuts at the Shaoxing Art Center in Shaoxing. [Photo/Tide News]

The premiere of Shaoxing Opera's adaptation of the classic novel Journey to the West recently captivated a Shaoxing audience.

Held at the Shaoxing Art Center, the performance showcased the cultural richness of Shaoxing Opera, esteemed as a national intangible cultural treasure and one of Zhejiang's distinguished opera genres.

The adaptation, titled Flame Mountain, unfolds as Monk Xuanzang and his four disciples embark on a perilous journey westward to retrieve sacred scriptures. A crucial point in their path is Flame Mountain, where an intense fire rages.

The power to extinguish this unique blaze lies within Princess Iron Fan's Banana Fan, and Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, goes to great lengths to borrow it.

Initially, the Monkey King transforms into a small insect inside Princess Iron Fan's belly to retrieve a counterfeit fan. Subsequently, he assumes the guise of the Bull Demon King, Princess Iron Fan's husband, to obtain the authentic fan. In turn, the Bull Demon King transforms into Zhu Bajie, another disciple of Monk Xuanzang, to trick and reclaim the genuine fan.

Ultimately, after a fierce battle with the Bull Demon King, the Monkey King successfully "borrowed" the fan and effectively cooled down Flame Mountain.

Zhang Jinlai, renowned for portraying the Monkey King in the 1986 TV adaptation of Journey to the West, graced the premiere.

Expressing admiration for the young talents of the Shaoxing Opera troupe, Zhang emphasized the crucial role of the younger generation in preserving classical theatrical traditions.

"The Shaoxing Opera troupe's young actors exude vitality and possess exceptional skills. In them, I see hope for the continued legacy and development of Shaoxing Opera," he said.