Media Release

Closer cultural and economic ties between Wellington and Beijing cemented at Chinese New Year

 27 January 2015 

Xian’s most famous Qinqiang performing artists will headline the Wellington Chinese New Year Festival to be held the weekend of 14 and 15 February.

The Shaanxi Little Plum Blossom Qinqiang Opera Arts Group will perform a selection of works at Wellington‘s Chinese New Year celebrations in its New Clothes for the New Year Fashion and Dance show 7-9.30pm 14 February. They will also feature in the Festival Day programme on Sunday 15 February, in the stage programme and street parade.

The Shaanxi Little Plum Blossom Qingqiang Opera Arts Group has toured throughout Asia, Europe, Africa and North America to perform, but this will be their first trip to New Zealand, made possible through the signing of an MOU between Wellington City Council and the Ministry of Culture, Beijing in May 2014.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says, “I’m looking forward to seeing this extraordinary performance. As New Zealand’s arts capital, Wellington is sure to welcome Shaanxi Little Plum Blossom Opera Arts Group.”

This will be the first of many performing groups participating in the annual Chinese New Year celebrations in Wellington, with the agreement to establish a China Cultural Centre, further strengthening ties between China and Wellington.

The Shaanxi Little Plum Blossom Qingqiang Opera Arts Group will perform at the TSB Bank Arena Sunday 15 February 7-9.30pm. Book at

For full details of the Chinese New Year Festival programme
contact Linda Lim, Programme Director on 027 4324269 or email

Details about Qinqiang Opera

Qinqiang is steeped in history with its origins dating back more than 2000 years. It comprises a comprehensive range of performing arts that include a stunning combination of singing, acting and dancing that is embellished with acrobatics, martial arts and stunts. The Qinqiang specialty of fire breathing, in particular, has enthralled spectators across the ages.

Literally meaning "the tone of Qin," this form of folk opera originated in the northwest province of Shaanxi. Qinqiang is one of the oldest and most extensive of the four major types of Chinese opera. Most forms of Chinese opera owe their singing and acting styles, melodies and plotlines to the Shaanxi area.

Qinqiang opera first appeared in the Qin Dynasty 2200 years ago before it flourished in the imperial capital of the Tang dynasty Chang'an, which is today's Xi'an. With its long history, Qinqiang is credited as "the forefather of Chinese operas."

Today, Qinqiang has evolved into an established theatre style, but retains its bold and rustic aspect. The operas are straightforward and passionate, with exaggerated and dramatic facial expressions, but also feature delicate emotions that can move audiences. 

Qinqiang performances are characterised by a simple and bold style that is at once penetratingly exquisite, yet also exaggerated. The roles are categorised into 13 types, namely, four types of shengs, the male roles in traditional Chinese opera, six dan, or female characters, two jing, painted-face characters and one chou, or clown.

Closer cultural and economic ties between Wellington and Beijing

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