Dalian Peking Opera Company head Yang Chi (left) performs with famous Peking Opera actor Yu Kuizhi. Provided to China Daily
In Dalian, Peking Opera and its actors have found a supportive home full of adoring fans. Zhu Chengpei and Zhang Xiaomin join the show in Dalian.
The Hongji Stage in downtown Dalian in Liaoning province has been a magnet for Peking Opera fans of the northeastern coastal city.
After a century of ups and downs, the stage built in 1908 sparkles again after being restored in 2010.
Wang Minzhong, a 35-year-old English teacher, goes to the theater every weekend.
"Prior to seeing a live Peking Opera, I wondered if I could understand a single word of it," Wang says.
He immediately took to it and it triggered his interest to find out more about the opera, often said to be a quintessence of Chinese culture. The more he knows the more he loves it.
Initially, he was attracted by the stories, the wonderful gestures and the fighting. Later, he found a certain beauty in the facial paintings, singing, costumes and everything else in the theater art.
"The classical arts are able to make people feel at peace," he says. "I know a Japanese friend, who is a senior executive of a Japanese company in Dalian. He used to enjoy live shows to relieve stress."
Goku Cigei came to Dalian in 2005. In the beginning, he went to the theater just to kill time. Soon, he was enchanted. He loves the art form so much that he established a fan club and tried to introduce Peking Opera to more Japanese.
By March 2011, when he returned to Japan, he had watched more than 260 live Peking Opera shows and made notes for each of them.