A Manhan Opera performance is given by two singers -- one male and one female. [Photo/Baotou Daily]
Originating from Baotou -- mostly from Tumd Right Banner in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region -- Manhan Opera is a kind of local opera based on er ren tai which in Chinese literally means “two people on stage”.
It is a category of local opera performed by two singers: one male and one female.
Zhang Jianxin, deputy dean of the Baotou Manhan Art Theater, stands before a group of students. [Photo/Baotou Daily]
In 1982, an opera troupe in Baotou gave the first performance of The Legend of Fengzhoutan. The opera was performed in the style of er ren tai and won plaudits from across the autonomous region. This kind of new opera officially became known as Manhan Opera.
In 1986, Manhan Opera was officially recognized as the only original local opera in Inner Mongolia.
In an effort to promote the folk art form, Baotou Manhan Art Theater has launched Manhan Opera campus tours with performances now staged in primary and middle schools, as well as universities in Baotou city.
In 2016, the Baotou Arts School added Manhan Opera to its curriculum and enrolled students into a specially-tailored class to keep the decades-old local opera alive.