Tibetan villagers attract tourists with opera shows

Updated: 2021-09-08 By PALDEN NYIMA and DAQIONG in lhasa (China Daily) Print


Villagers perform Yarlung Tashi Sholpa, a form of Tibetan opera, for tourists in Tashi Choten community, Tibet autonomous region, in July. CHEN SHANGCAI/XINHUA

The Tashi Choten community in the Tibet autonomous region is renowned for preserving one of Tibet's unique opera schools.

Located in Gonggar county, it has been designated as a preservation base of Yarlung Tashi Sholpa, a national intangible cultural heritage.

In recent years, the community has integrated culture with homestays. Since June last year it has welcomed more than 20,000 tourists and earned 2 million yuan ($310,000), villagers said.

Community director Nyima Tsering, who has been working on the preservation and performance of Tibetan opera for more than 20 years, said Tashi Choten is home to 30 professional Tibetan opera performers.

"The troupe has been receiving annual subsidies of between 40,000 yuan and 200,000 yuan since 2011," he said. The money is used to pay the performers, who stage operas for tourists each night.

Nyima Tsering, an 11th-generation opera practitioner, was accredited as a national-level inheritor of the intangible heritage in 2006.

"Our community has now become a tourist attraction and the tourists come to our village to watch opera," he said. "Thanks to that, each of our opera performers receives a monthly salary of 2,000 yuan."

Norbu Tsering said they used to perform only during major events.

"Today, we can perform for the tourists during the travel season from June to September," he said.

Sixty-four households in the community-half the village-operate guesthouses, People's Daily reported.

"It was beyond my expectation. I hardly thought I could run a business," it quoted Rinzin Pema as saying.

The 59-year-old set up a family guesthouse in June last year with the encouragement of village officials.

"These days we are busy with performances for villagers who have celebrations as their children are enrolled in new schools," Norbu Tsering said. "With the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holidays coming soon, we expect to receive more tourists."