Dialects as Untamable: How to Revolutionize Cantonese Opera?
While yangbanxi pieces were meant to forge a new revolutionary subjectivity among the people, a practical issue inevitably arose, which was the different capabilities of the many Chinese citizens to enjoy and reenact these pieces. Despite being the ultimate embodiment of the revolutionary spirit, these yangbanxi pieces were culturally specific, and people’s appreciation and learning of these pieces did not operate in a cultural vacuum. China is a huge country with a vast, culturally diverse population, but the Cultural Revolution was a highly homogenous political program that promoted a social ideal for all Chinese people to achieve. As such, the tensions between the center and the margin were always strong during this period, although they were not easily detectable. The regime aimed to offer a unified image of the country and its people, and the propaganda culture deliberately suppressed regional tensions. As Richard Kraus asserts, “Maoist central control over culture enabled the center to portray a nation of greater unity than was in fact warranted. The Cultural Revolution superficially homogenized ethnic, economic, and even gender differences.”1 What remains less explored in the existing Cultural Revolution literature is the dialectics between the core and the periphery, and between the model and the copies, which helped make the Cultural Revolution such a unique historical event.
KeywordsChinese Communist Party Exchange Workshop Cultural Revolution Musical Arrangement Military Company
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