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Zhou Xinfang, the famous Peking Opera artist
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By the crossroad of Dingxin, Cicheng Town, Jiangbei District, Ningbo, there remains an old and homely building named 'Quan'en Hall', which used to be the residence of Zhou Xinfang, the accomplished Peking Opera performing artist in the contemporary China.
Zhou Xinfang (1895 - 1975), also named Shichu and stage named Kylin Boy, was a native of Cicheng County, Ningbo, and an outstanding Peking Opera performing artist and art innovator in contemporary China. At the age of 7, he started learning opera from Chen Changxing, and performed with the stage name 'the 7-year-old Boy' in Hangzhou, playing the part of old gentlemen. Before and after the May 4th Movement of 1919, influenced by the new culture and thinking, he performed in some new operas like 'Song Jiaoren' and 'Learning Boxing to beat the Giant', attacking the dictator Yuan Shikai and his like. He staged in Shanghai for a long time, and got influenced by Tan Xinpei, Feng Zhihe and some other famous opera artists. In collaboration with Wang Hongshou, Jiang Xiaonong, Pan Yueqiao, and etc., he wrote, performed, and transplanted many operas. He was brave in art innovation; he inherited and developed the realistic way of presenting our national operas, and created many distinctive characters. He formed his own artistic style known by the world as the 'Kylin Style', influential at home and abroad. As the master that created the 'Kylin Style', Zhou Xinfang's representative opera works are 'Four Scholars Who Passed the Imperial Examination', 'Xu Ce's Trip to the City', 'Xiao He Chases Han Xin in Moonlight', 'Pavilion of Clear Wind', 'Reprove Wang Kui', and etc. Upon the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese War, he actively took part in the salvation movement by writing and performing operas to arouse patriotism among the public. During China's War of Liberation, he joined in the patriotic democratic movement. After liberation, he served as Deputy Director of Chinese Opera Research Institute, Director of East China Opera Research Institute, Director of Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe, Vice Chairman of Society of Chinese Opera Artists, Vice Chairman of Shanghai Literature and Art Association, and Chairman of Shanghai Branch of Society of Chinese Opera Artists. His theoretical writings were compiled into 'Zhou Xinfang on Opera'. scripts of operas often played by him were compiled into 'Selected scripts of Operas Performed by Zhou Xinfang'. Another book of his is 'Zhou Xinfang's Art of Theatre'.

The 'Kylin Style' art, influential both at home and abroad, has always been popular. On April 2, 1985, in memory of the 90th anniversary of the birth of Zhou Xinfang, Li Xiannian, then Chairman of People's Republic of China, inscribed 'Long live the spirit of the Kylin Style art', and Deng Yingchao, then Chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress, inscribed 'In memory of the 90th anniversary of the birth of Zhou Xinfang, we should learn his revolutionary will and artistic innovation spirit'; and a special society for study of Zhou Xinfang's art was set up.

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