Classic red opera revival to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the CPC’s founding

Photo: Courtesy of China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater will perform a rearrangement of the classic revolutionary opera Jiang Jie in August, according to a press conference at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Friday. 

The opera was adapted from Red Rock, a 1961 novel by Chinese authors Luo Guangbin and Yang Yiyan partially based on a true story, and debuted in 1964, becoming a sensation throughout the country. Since then, Jiang Zhuyun, also known as Jiang Jie, has become synonymous with strong-willed revolutionary heroes.

Set in 1949 Chongqing during the Chinese Civil War, the opera follows underground communist agents under the command of Zhou Enlai as they fight an espionage battle against the Kuomintang and aims to show the strong spirit of CPC revolutionary martyrs such as Jiang.

The theater will hold a series of activities in the lead up to the debut of the opera, including inviting university students to watch rehearsals and holding communication sessions for young people and the cast.

The press conference was held at the Tsinghua University as part of efforts to bring red classics onto the campus, so that young students can more directly feel the artistic charm and spiritual strength of these classic works and perhaps enter the theater themselves and inherit the red genre by rearranging these works.

Besides the opera, three other operas such as The White-Haired Girl, which describes the misery suffered by the farming class, particularly women, and Xiao Erhei's Marriage, which celebrates the pursuit of true love, have all been included on a list of excellent stage works that will be performed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC.