The distinctive charm and artistry of traditional Chinese theater has been introduced to local residents through two light-hearted lectures.

The art lectures, held last week at the community cultural centers of Nanjing Road E. and Huaihai Road M., were praised by those attending.

Tian Hui, an outstanding young performer from the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe, taught the audience how to sing the classic excerpt “Ode to the Pear Blossoms” from the Peking Opera spectacular “The Royal Consort of Tang.”

A program of the 21st China Shanghai International Arts Festival, the play is a new adaptation of a stage hit 18 years ago. It will be presented from November 6 to 10 at the Shanghai Grand Theater.

Tian said the new version will combine traditional musical instruments with symphonic music in its live accompaniment.

The show will also introduce a new interpretation of the tragic love story between Emperor Xuanzong and his imperial concubine Yang Yuhuan. The turbulent historical background at that time is highlighted by martial arts scenes.

The classic dance moves of Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang on a small table will reappear in the show.

Leading actress Shi Yihong takes the challenge to dance on a small table to depict the concubine’s versatility in arts.

Since there are no videos available of Mei’s dance performance decades ago, Shi and dancing artist Huang Doudou had to draw inspiration from two photos of that time and the Dunhuang Frescoes’ dancing figures.

The dance will also feature exotic elements to showcase the open-minded tolerance of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).

The public-interest art lectures are considered to be an effective way to popularize traditional and classical arts to people. They’ve attracted some young enthusiasts who hope to learn more about the time-honored charm of traditional Chinese theater.