Future opera singers wow in "Little Plum"

Jul 26, 2019

The 23rd "Little Plum" children's Chinese opera carnival closed in Jinshan District on Tuesday night.

More than 30 genres of Chinese opera were performed by 174 young performers over the five days of the show. The youngest was only 5 years old.

The China Theater Association, who organized the event, named it after the Plum Award, the highest award for traditional Chinese opera performers.

Little Plum started in 1997 to encourage children to take greater interest in traditional culture, as well as to look for future stars.

Four of the kids came from Jinshan. Zhang Tianyuan performed arias from Xiju, or Wuxi Opera "Pearl Tower." Xiju began in the southern region of the Yangtze River Delta region in the early 20th century. Zhang has been practicing Xiju for two years, after he saw a performance once on TV and fell in love with it.

"He used to be shy and timid," said Zhang Hong, the boy's mother. "But since he took up Xiju, he has become more confident and outgoing."

Another young performer from Jinshan was Lu Peimin, who is only 6. Her performance of Huju, or Shanghai Opera, drew rounds of applauds from the crowd.

When Lu first went to kindergarten in 2017, Jinshan started to promote Chinese operas in schools. Lu, then 4, joined the kindergarten opera club and now, every week, Lu and another 70 kids are taught by national performers Lu Xianlu and Li Jianhua.

The Little Plum will be held in Jinshan each year until 2021.