New Chinese opera 'Painted Skin' makes world premiere
Updated 19:54, 28-Oct-2018
By Hu Chao, Zheng Lei
Using experimental stage techniques to tell a traditional Chinese ghost story in a new way, the Chinese opera "Painted Skin," made its world premiere at the China Shanghai International Arts Festival on Tuesday night. 
The show only has three performers. Two sopranos perform the roles of a couple, while a Peking Opera actor is the ghost. Their love triangle reveals the uncertainty of humanity.
"Painted Skin" tells the story of a love triangle between a couple and a ghost. /CGTN Photo

"Painted Skin" tells the story of a love triangle between a couple and a ghost. /CGTN Photo

The actor sings a Chinese Kunqu Opera song during the show, adding a special traditional element. The producers said they are working on creating a new Chinese opera based on this play.
"Since the 1970s, we've rarely seen productions using the songs of ancient Chinese opera. But we used a lot of them in 'Painted Skin.' We also quoted a lot from ancient Chinese poems. We want to pay tribute to those ancient masters of Chinese opera," said Wang Yuanfei, the playwriter, told CGTN.
The show also features many traditional Chinese instruments. 
The wife is performed by a soprano. /CGTN Photo

The wife is performed by a soprano. /CGTN Photo

"Although the singer leads the main melody, the ensemble from the Singapore Chinese orchestra also plays many different melodies. They coordinate with each other and form a new type of very refreshing sound," said Ye Cong, the conductor of the opera. 
As the opera was being staged, a smaller team was also performing on the sidelines. Their acting was displayed on the stage screen as a backdrop, creating special visual effects.
Many members of the audience were very impressed by this experimental opera. 
"The story develops very well and the characters express their emotions well. It's amazing," a female audience said.
"Instead of using symphony scores, this opera uses traditional Chinese music to great effect," said another young man.