Zhangjiagang :
National youth opera competition flourishes in Zhangjiagang

A youth performer is busy preparing for her performance at the "Little Plum" opera competition in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province on July 25. [Photo/zjgonline.com.cn]

A successful national youth opera competition is being held in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province, from July 25 to 28.

Named "Little Plum", the event pays tribute to the Plum Performance Award, China's highest ranking for opera performers.

A pioneering chapter took place in the neighboring city of Shengzhou, Zhejiang province, from July 14 to 17, attracting 119 performers from 27 provinces (except Jiangsu) to compete for individual titles.

The Zhangjiagang part, which is supported by the China Theater Association and the local municipal government, has attracted the participation of 31 groups and individual performers.

Youth performers wait for the judges' comments on their performances. [Photo/zjgonline.com.cn]

Featuring various types of opera popular in Beijing, Jiangsu, Hunan and Shandong provinces, the participants in Jaingsu will compete for their group and individual recognition.

Xue Jinling, the founder of the event and an official at the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, said she was moved by the youngsters' enthusiasm for traditional Chinese art forms.

"Zhangjiagang's solid opera background inspired us to set the final stage here this year," Xue said. "I hope the city will carry forward its good tradition and encourage more local children to delve into our opera arts."

A city with a rich cultural atmosphere, Zhangjiagang plays host to a variety of opera-themed festivals every year. The annual Yangtze River Culture & Art Festival, which enjoys wide popularity among local residents, has seen numerous excellent works conceived and performed there since its inception in 2004.

Opera performances win praise and applause from the audience. [Photo/zjgonline.com.cn]