BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

world

18 Heartbreaking And Gorgeous Photos Of A Community Fighting To Keep Chinese Opera Alive

The Flower Lantern troupe are one of the last of their kind.

Posted on February 12, 2016, at 6:03 a.m. ET

1.

In the Chinese city of Kunming, elderly residents are putting on daily performances of traditional Chinese opera in a bid to keep a dying art alive.
Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

In the Chinese city of Kunming, elderly residents are putting on daily performances of traditional Chinese opera in a bid to keep a dying art alive.

2.

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

3.

Chinese opera is a traditional form of performance that can incorporate art, music, dance, and martial arts.
Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

Chinese opera is a traditional form of performance that can incorporate art, music, dance, and martial arts.

4.

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images
ADVERTISEMENT

5.

The Flower Lantern group of Yunnan perform daily shows above a food market. The Yunnan Opera has been staging performances for over 200 years, and has been awarded "Intangible Cultural Heritage" status by the Chinese government.
Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

The Flower Lantern group of Yunnan perform daily shows above a food market. The Yunnan Opera has been staging performances for over 200 years, and has been awarded "Intangible Cultural Heritage" status by the Chinese government.

6.

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

7.

All performers are over 50, do their own makeup, and perform one show a day.
Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

All performers are over 50, do their own makeup, and perform one show a day.

8.

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images
ADVERTISEMENT

9.

But a changing China means young people are turning to other forms of entertainment, shrinking audiences for opera.
Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

But a changing China means young people are turning to other forms of entertainment, shrinking audiences for opera.

10.

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

11.

Speaking to the AFP, 72-year-old performer He Zhengcai said that there was no longer an audience for traditional opera.
Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

Speaking to the AFP, 72-year-old performer He Zhengcai said that there was no longer an audience for traditional opera.

12.

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images
ADVERTISEMENT

13.

"The situation is getting worse each year, our stage has moved seven times and each time it gets smaller," he said. "Young people are no longer interested in this art, and our audiences are old fellows in general."
Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

"The situation is getting worse each year, our stage has moved seven times and each time it gets smaller," he said. "Young people are no longer interested in this art, and our audiences are old fellows in general."

14.

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

15.

The troupe's founder, Gao Qinying, was pessimistic about the group's survival.
Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

The troupe's founder, Gao Qinying, was pessimistic about the group's survival.

16.

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

17.

“I don’t think the group could survive another year," she said. “Five old friends used to sit there together, they came and sat on the same spot every day... Now, they are all gone.”
Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

“I don’t think the group could survive another year," she said. “Five old friends used to sit there together, they came and sat on the same spot every day... Now, they are all gone.”

18.

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT