At 7:30 p.m. August 20, Dao Anren, the large-scale Dai opera which goes in for Fifth National Ethnic Group Arts Festival, premieres successfully in the packed Beijing Nationality Culture Palace Theater, attracting about 700 spectators from the capital. It is the first performance that Yunnan puts on during the art festival. Another song and dance drama, Wonderful Dream of Yunnan is to be staged on August 25 and 26 in Tianqiao Theater in Beijing.
According to one of the scriptwriter, Gan Zhaopei, the opera consists of 8 scenes. It tells the story of Dao Anren, the 24 th hereditary headmen in Yingjiang who experiences the hard course of transforming from a feudal lord to a pioneer in China Democratic Revolution. The opera reflects the historical inevitability of the Revolution of 1911 and manifests the contribution made by people from all ethic groups in Yunnan represented by Dao Anren. The opera successfully shapes the image of Dao Anren, a hero from Dai ethnic group who is praised as “great man in the frontier area”and “Chinese elite”by Sun Yet-sen. Gan Zhaopei also says, “The artistic quality and overall standard of the opera have been significantly upgraded after half-a- year polish.”
Men Conggao is the director of Inheriting, Preserving and Performing Center of Dai Opera of Dehong Prefecture as well as the actor who plays the role of Dao Anren. He says that Dai opera is mass-based in Dehong. The Dai operas performed by the team on the field of Dai villages enjoy great popularity. He crowns Dao Anren as the epitome of Dai opera. He also maintains that the performance of Dao Anren in Beijing is a performance of Dai opera targeted at the spectators in the country.
According to Sun Shuqin, who is from Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs ofDehong Prefecture, Dao Anren integrates five items of intangible cultural heritage of Dai ethnic group, namely the Dai opera, the musical instrument, traditional martial arts in the performance, peacock dance and the art of paper-cutting. The opera not only represents the highest artistic standard of Dai opera but also showcases the culture of Dai ethnic group.
After the performance, the audience linger on. A senior Beijinger runs to the platform and makes a bow to the actors with his hands folded in front, expressing his gratitude to the actor for such a splendid performance. Miss Cui, a spectator, tells reporters that before she was only interested in the culture of Dai ethnic group, but little did she know that there were such time-honored story and figure in the history of the ethnic. She says, “Though we do not understand the Dai language, through the performance and script, I am deeply touched by the character Dao Anren. After watching the opera, I like the Dai people even more. I wish them good luck and happiness. ”
The director of the opera, Wang Ying who has worked under great pressure in spite of illness, can hardly speak a word. However, he thinks highly of the performance of actors and actresses. He says that they have tried their best and brought their ability into full play.
On the way to the hotel, the actors and actresses are in high spirits, talking, laughing and singing. They not only brings a splendid opera to Beijing but also the happiness and wish of the Dai people.
“People from different ethnic group form a family and work for the commonly shared Chinese Dream”. National Ethnic Group Arts Festival not only promotes the prosperity of the culture of ethnic minority group, but also demonstrates the unity and harmony of various ethnic minority groups of China.
Dao Anren, styled Peisheng, born in 1872, was the first son of the Dao Yingting, the 23 rd hereditary headman in Yingjiang. He was referred as “Hunxiang” , which means “prince of gem”in Dai language. In his youth, Dao Anren repeatedly called on the people from such ethnic groups as Dai, Han, Jingpo, Lisu and A’chang to fight against the British aggressors. He once went to India and Japan for surveying capitalist system. Influenced by Democratic Revolution, he worked in his hometown after his return. In 1906, he visited Japan for the second time to follow such revolutionists as Sun Yat-sen and Song Jiaoren and became a member of Chinese Revolutionary League. After his return in 1907, Dao Anren carried out Enterprise Planning and reform the systems of cultural education and the Tusi system. In 1908, after the failure of the upraising in Hekou Yunnan, Dao Anren provided the Tusi government for the revolutionists as their base and prepared new armed upraising. At the same time, he set up revolutionary group with Zhang Wenguang and Liu Fuguo in Tengchong. On September 6, 1911, they launched Tengyue(now Tengchong) Upraising and established Western Yunnan Military Organization and he was appointed the second governor of the organization. After the Revolution of 1911, Dao Anren was arrested by Republic of China led by Yuan Shikai. After his release from the prison, he was appointed the counselor of the Department of the Army. In the spring of 1913, he passed away in Beijing. Dao Anren, together with Zhang Wenguang and Liu Fuguo was referred as three heroes in Tengyue Uprising in the Revolution of 1911.