Established in 1952, the China National Opera House (CNOH) is directly under the Ministry of Culture of China. The predecessors of CNOH were the Central Philharmonic Orchestra of Yan’an and the Art Troupe of LU Xun Academy of Fine Arts, which created the folk dance opera Brother and Sister Explorers in 1943 and the White-Haired Girl in 1945 in Yan’an. CNOH has witnessed many historic changes.
Consisting of an opera troupe, choir, symphony orchestra, stagecraft department and stagecraft plant, etc., CNOH is home to prominent Chinese singers, performers, composers, conductors, directors, playwrights and stage designers. Successive presidents of CNOH include LI Bozhao, ZHOU Weizhi, LU Su, ZHAO Feng, MA Ke, LI Ling, LIU Lianchi, WANG Shiguang, CHEN Xieyang, LIU Xijin and YU Feng. Chaired by the Party Secretary YUAN Ping, it has LIU Yunzhi (famous violinist), JU Xiongzhi, YANG Xiong and YAO Hong as vice presidents.
CNOH has won over 100 national-level awards, including the Award of Five “One” Project, Award of National Excellent Stage Art Works Project, Wenhua Award of the Ministry of Culture, Wenhua Award for New Plays and Wenhua Performance Award. It gave excellent performance in major events such as the BRICS Summit, Boao Forum for Asia, APEC Summit and the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China and the 19th CPC National Congress.
It has premiered, staged and preserved a number of world-renowned classic operas including Turandot, La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, Carmen, La Bohème, Rigoletto, Le Nozze di Figaro, Cavalleria Rusticana, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, I Pagliacci, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Le Roi d'Ys, Die Fledermaus, Tannhäuser, Valkyrius, Fidelio, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung, Tosca and Das Rheingold. It has also built a strong repertoire of Chinese operas like The White-Haired Girl, LIU Hulan, Song of Grassland, The 100th Bride, Marco Polo, Farewell My Concubine, Dream Forest, Hongbang Tailor, LAN Hui of Beichuan, My Mother Is Called Taihang, The Red Army's Long March, Red Women Army and Manas, as well as the dance drama HUA Mulan.
CNOH has staged Chinese and foreign operas in Italy, France, Finland, the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Syria, Algeria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Morocco and other countries, making a great coup at the Palais des Nations, Puccini Festival, Budapest Spring Festival and Ljubljana Summer Festival. Since its introduction by CNOH into China in 1989, Puccini’s classic opera Turandot has become an important repertory play of CNOH and been successfully performed as a representative work of CNOH in Cairo, Damascus, Rome and Puccini’s hometown at Lake Orta. CNOH presented the play at Hungarian Budapest Spring Festival in April 2016 and in Switzerland again six months later, giving full expression to the superb art of the play.
In addition, CNOH has enriched its performance forms. Besides the complete opera performance, its creative opera and opera galas have been widely-recognized and praised by the audience. In May 2016, it staged Puccini’s classic opera Madama Butterfly at NCPA Opera Festival, and gave a concert of four operas – Turandot, Madama Butterfly, Tosca and White-Haired Girl in Wuhan. It gives more than 100 performances all over the country every year. In celebration of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, it took part in the concert, “Eternal Faith”, held at the Great Hall of the People and the CCTV programme “Great Banner”, and organized the Mass Singing Contest “Flapping Red Flag, Resonant Singing” sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. It also appeared in CCTV’s key themed programme “Magnificent Voyage” to welcome the triumphant convocation of the 19th CPC National Congress.
CNOH has also organized various kinds of activities. In 2016 alone, it gave performances and one-to-one assistance in the villages, schools and homes for the aged in Lichuan, Zunyi, Jilin, Yushu and other places.