Former "famous actors" are now "traffic", former "fanciers" are now "fans", old "theater tickets" are now "rewards"——

  When traditional opera meets webcast

  "I've acted in plays for 45 years. Based on more than 100 performances and 2,000 viewers per performance, that's more than 10 million viewers in 45 years. But over 200 million people watched my live broadcast for more than two months. The drama." When the traditional opera entered the live broadcast room, a shocked opera player said.

  Two years ago, Li Shujian, born in the 60s, tried live broadcast for the first time: debugging equipment, checking the process... This Henan Opera master who is "all-powerful" on the opera stage, carefully adjusted his clothes before the broadcast.

In the next four hours, he was both an actor and a host. He had to sing, read and play in front of the screen himself, and from time to time, he had to connect with Internet experts, and he did not forget to interact with the audience.

Although he had already heard about the dissemination ability of the Internet, the 1.75 million views still shocked him, and it also made him firm in his determination to do live dramas.

  As an art that has always flowed in the spiritual blood of the Chinese people, the times have changed and the trend has changed, but the inheritance is endless.

The ancient opera has spanned thousands of years. Now, with the help of Internet live broadcast technology, it has broken through the boundaries of space and ushered in "another spring in the pear garden".

  A report on the live broadcast of operas released by a platform in 2022 shows that operas are showing new vitality through live broadcasts: 231 types of operas have been broadcast live. In the past year, they have conducted more than 800,000 live broadcasts of operas, and the cumulative number of viewers has exceeded 800,000. 2.5 billion.

Every live opera is equivalent to a medium-sized performance.

Similarly, in the 2020 statistics released by another online platform that tried the live broadcast of operas earlier, Peking Opera was the short video genre of non-legacy dramas with the largest number of authors and viewers.

Platform users' favorite intangible cultural heritage drama types include Qin Opera, Yue Diao, Huangmei Opera, Henan Opera, Luantan, Errentai, Sichuan Opera, Yue Opera, Jin Opera, etc.

  In the live broadcast room, we can not only see Wang Shanpu, a performance artist of Henan Opera in his 90s, play the classic excerpts well, but also see many young opera actors born in the 90s show solid professional skills.

Audiences only need to pick up their mobile phones to enjoy Peking Opera, Henan Opera, Kunqu Opera, Qin Opera and other operas.

Traditional opera is coming to life in the live broadcast room.

  Leverage: Traditional art rides the wind of technology

  Since 2020, the traditional opera industry has struggled under the repeated impact of the new crown pneumonia epidemic.

In the cold winter of performances, most troupes have fewer offline performances, and it is difficult to guarantee the income of opera actors of grassroots troupes.

"You can't let actors sing on an empty stomach." Li Shujian said.

Through the live broadcast, the audience recognized the opera actors in the form of rewards, and the performance won the "new theater ticket" in the Internet era.

At present, live broadcast income has become the third source of income for the troupe in addition to government funding and performances.

Opera performers have also earned additional performance income through live online performances, which relieves the pressure of life.

  The changes brought about by the epidemic also fall on opera fans. Ms. Song, a post-80s opera fan, goes to the theater to watch more than 50 opera performances every year.

The live broadcast of opera was like a ray of light for her. After seeing the live broadcast of Huangmei opera actor Wu Qiong on the Internet, she sighed: "As expected of a golden voice! Singing for more than two hours is not messy at all. It is very thirst-quenching and enjoyable."

  On the one hand, there were notices that the performances were postponed one after another, and on the other hand, the old fans were worried and urged.

Every night, starting at 8 o'clock and ending before 12 o'clock, for more than 3 hours, she chatted, sang, and shared her knowledge and understanding with fans.

In order to prepare for the performance of the Peking Opera "Liang Hongyu", she did not dare to waste her skills, and practiced the drums while broadcasting live.

Zhou Meihui sighed that the stage is very important for the mood of opera actors. If she can't be on stage during the epidemic prevention and control period, there will be fewer opportunities for performance practice.

With the help of new forms, the stage can be widened, actors can take the stage, and opera people have found the point of contact between performance and communication, and the balance between art and reality on the Internet.

  In this regard, Li Shujian also said: "To a certain extent, the audience in the live broadcast room is equal to the audience in the theater, the likes in the live broadcast room are equal to applause, and the comments in the live broadcast room are equivalent to the past questionnaires."

  Feedback: Long Opera Constructs a Clear Space

  The live broadcast has found an exit for the real life of opera people who are temporarily stuck, and has also found a new entrance for artistic inheritance and performance practice.

Taking advantage of the wind of technology, more opera actors have begun to take the initiative and make efforts to adapt to the new form of communication.

  After several live broadcasts, Li Shujian summed up the two key points of new media communication - entertainment and ideology.

Entertaining means actively adapting to new performance scenarios.

Losing the separation of the "fourth wall" and the support of opera programs, opera actors "hand-in-hand" with the audience in the live broadcast room, interacting in all directions, and the audience's feedback is most directly presented through numbers. Not a small challenge.

"Most of the people who play the Internet are young people. They are all fast-paced. They have to change the old thinking that I play what you watch, and I will play whatever you watch." In order to attract more audiences, he broadcast live broadcasts. A special evening party was made, inviting old artists and outstanding young actors to participate, connecting with Internet experts, singing opera, performing, fighting in the ring, popularizing knowledge of opera, and at the same time telling the historical story behind opera and sharing the experience of more than 40 years of art. Wait.

  In addition to complying with the dissemination laws and audience characteristics of new media platforms, and striving to present more new content inside and outside the theater, Li Shujian also emphasized the ideological nature. It is the responsibility and historical mission of opera people to spread excellent opera culture through the Internet.

  Zhou Meihui gained a group of young viewers because of her live broadcast.

The live broadcast made these audiences feel the charm of opera, so when the epidemic improved, they took the initiative to buy tickets and walked into the theater.

The owner of her fan group is an 18-year-old drama fan. In her daily interaction with fans, she hopes to spread the infiltration and nurture of art farther afield through her performance and communication.

  As more and more traditional operas appear in the live broadcast room, different from the "beauty live broadcast" that used to compete for beauty and show the lower limit, the live broadcast of traditional culture is not only spreading traditional culture, but also improving the online live broadcast ecology.

For the audience, the melodious singing, the lingering sentiments, and the simple and straightforward truths in the opera are in line with the good memories of the hometown in their memory, as well as the simple belief in truth, goodness, and beauty.

  Among the opera troupes, the Shanghai Yue Theater has a unique live broadcast. In addition to opening official accounts on major video live broadcast platforms to live broadcast classic plays and themed events, the Shanghai Yue Theater has also opened a "Youth · Drama Talk" live broadcast salon.

This live broadcast of the opera creation dialogue originally initiated by the young creators of the Shanghai Yue Opera Theatre has developed into a Shanghai youth literary and art practice activity that spans across academies, opera genres, disciplines, and art categories within two or three years. The creation of opera has gradually expanded to the exploration of broader stage art and cultural issues such as the temperament of opera genres, performance aesthetics, cross-art integration, cultural dialogue between the East and the West, stage and urban culture.

Salon members not only include young screenwriters, directors, actors, composers, and stage designers from major state-owned literary and art troupes in Shanghai and Beijing, but also continuously attract creators from other art categories, as well as researchers from universities and research institutes.

  "Planning academic live broadcasts of operas aims to guide young people to think more deeply. At the same time, we also hope to attract young people with young people and achieve the purpose of cultivating new audiences. We were initially worried that academic and theoretical content may be difficult for live broadcast audiences. Facts have proved that such concerns are superfluous, and this project has received a warm response and positive interaction from the audience.” said Lv Xiang, vice president of Shanghai Yue Theater.

  At the same time, major platforms are also actively exploring the live broadcast of opera.

IPs such as the special column "Summer of Peking Opera", "I Debut Today" and "Master of Opera" have made useful attempts in presenting high-quality content.

  Outlook: Keep upright and innovative as the foundation

  "When can I go to the theater to watch the play?" When the live broadcast of opera is in full swing, you can still see and hear such sighs in the live broadcast room.

The "Cloud" performance is intoxicating, but the theater is still memorable.

"Because what we see in the theater is the entire performance, including lighting, sound, stage art, protagonists, supporting roles, props, and even every audience member is an organic part of the performance." School of Language and Communication, Beijing Jiaotong University Lecturer Wang Jingyu pointed out, "It is the wonderful chemical reaction between these elements that has created the charm of opera art that has spread for hundreds of years."

  Where is the future of opera communication?

Most practitioners believe that "making friends online and watching performances offline" can only complete the perfect closure of the chain by directing traffic to the theater with the help of the Internet.

For movie fans, online live broadcasts without a complete performance program can only be regarded as an expedient and helpless move when there is no performance to watch.

Yang Ruhan, a graduate student at the China Academy of Drama, said: "Online live streaming doesn't feel like sitting in a theater. I hope to capture all the details of the scene with my own eyes. Sometimes watching a drama is not only about watching a drama, it is also a kind of social interaction. Literary and artistic activities with attributes.” Zhang Yifan, lecturer at Renmin University of China, director of the Department of Drama and Opera Studies, pointed out: “In the process of exploring the dissemination of opera, the fragmentation and integrity of the content and form of the dissemination of opera itself is a pair that cannot be ignored. The dialectical relationship between the two. The advantage of fragmentation is that it saves time and effort, and it is very efficient in the fast pace of modernization, but the purpose of fragmented communication must be to serve the overall communication.”

  Opera cannot always be the "traffic responsibility" in online live broadcasts.

Zhang Yifan said: "The dissemination of opera through various new media can gain attention and gain traffic, but it is more important to think and evaluate how much moisture is in the traffic, whether it will cause false prosperity, and how much negative impact the resulting bubble will have on practitioners. "

  Some people have a more optimistic attitude about this. Drama fan Ms. Song mentioned in the interview that some time ago, Peking Opera actress Wang Peiyu watched her past performances with everyone on the live broadcast, which made her refreshing.

"For us old opera fans, listening to the actors share their knowledge and understanding at the time of the performance, we can obtain a lot of information outside the auditorium. For the audience who didn't watch opera very much, it can also be faster to have a professional lead the explanation. To understand traditional art.” She believes that we might as well have an open and tolerant attitude towards the live broadcast of opera, and embracing new technology does not mean abandoning tradition. In the process of development and changes, traditional art may produce flowers of different forms.

  Cultural growth has its inherent logic, and dissemination is only one of the links. After the live broadcast, opera still has a long way to go in its journey of integrity and innovation.

Wang Jingyu said that for opera, live streaming only opens the door to young people, and to make young people become "iron fans" ultimately depends on their own artistic charm.

The inheritance of excellent traditional culture is endless and endless. No matter what form or opinion, practitioners, platforms, audiences and other starting points are to make opera better pass down and spread.

As long as we stick to this starting point, the prosperity of traditional culture will eventually unfold slowly.

  (Reporter Li Jinrong and Cao Yanan)

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