Well-Inherited Tibetan Opera Generates Wealth for Residents of Xizang, Southwest China
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Well-Inherited Tibetan Opera Generates Wealth for Residents of Xizang, Southwest China

Well-Inherited Tibetan Opera Generates Wealth for Residents of Xizang, Southwest China

A Tibetan opera performance is taking place. (People’s Daily Online/Tsering Norbu)

Five Tibetan opera performers wearing yellow face masks took the audience on a journey back in time to the Tashi Choden community in Naidong District, Shannan City, in southwestern China’s Xizang Autonomous Region.

Yarlung Tashi Sholpa, a form of Tibetan opera, was created by Thangtong Gyalpo, the founder of Tibetan opera, in the 15th century.

“Yarlung Tashi Sholpa is the oldest branch of Tibetan opera and serves as the most famous opening act in major events held in Xizang. It has been inscribed on the first national-level list of intangible cultural heritage in China,” said Nyima Tsering, 52, the national-level heir to the Tibetan opera Yarlung Tashi Sholpa.

Nyima Tsering, who began his artistic journey at the age of 16, has expanded his Tibetan opera troupe from a small group to a troupe of dozens of performers. He has also established a 400-square-meter training center. During peak tourist seasons, the troupe performs six to seven performances a night.

As the director of the Tashi Choden community, Nyima Tsering takes responsibility for ensuring the well-being of local residents.

The interior of a bed and breakfast in Tashi Choden District, Naidong District, Shannan City, southwest China’s Xizang Autonomous Region. (People’s Daily Online/Tsering Norbu)

In recent years, the Tashi Choden community has explored the resources of Tibetan opera. It has integrated intangible cultural heritage elements into the construction of the living environment, creating a multitude of brands related to Tibetan culture and folk tourism.

The photo shows the Tashi Choden community in Naidong District, Shannan City, southwest China’s Xizang Autonomous Region. (People’s Daily Online/Tsering Norbu)

As of June 2020, the community has welcomed more than 70,000 tourists, generating more than 5.6 million yuan (about $770,336) in tourism revenue. Folk tourism has not only increased the income of local residents, but also improved the visibility of the community.

“In the past, our main source of income was farming and construction work, which earned us just over 100 yuan a day. Now, we are involved in hosting tourists and maintaining cleanliness, which allows us to generate a steady income,” said a resident who runs a bed and breakfast in the Tashi Choden community, revealing that the annual net income from running such a business can exceed 25,000 yuan.

(Website Editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)