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Classic Monkey King story retold through Shaoxing Opera

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: October 16, 2020 L M S


The Shaoxing Opera version of Journey to the West is staged in Kunshan, Jiangsu province on Oct 13. [Photo/shaoxing.com.cn]

The Shaoxing Opera version of Monkey King vs. White-Bone Enchantress, a famous story from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, delighted audiences in Kunshan, Jiangsu province on Oct 13.

The troupe from Shaoxing was the only group from Zhejiang province to attend the ongoing traditional Chinese opera festival in Kunshan.

Shaoxing Opera, also known as Shaoju, is a regional opera which originated in Shaoxing, East China's Zhejiang province.

There have been more than 400 Shaoju plays over the course of the opera's 400-year history, but it is most widely known for its monkey plays.

China's monkey plays can be categorized by region and include southern and northern styles. The northern style is represented by Peking Opera, while Shaoju is the best-known southern style.

Zhang Jinlai, better known as Liuxiaolingtong, became a sensation when he played the role of the Monkey King in the popular TV series Journey to the West in 1986.

In 2008, Shaoju was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage. Liu Jianyang, a successor to the great performers, was hailed as the "New Monkey King of Jiangnan". Under his leadership, the Shaoju Art Research Institute of Zhejiang stages nearly 100 Monkey King plays every year.