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Thursday, September 14, 2017 1:00 am

After March snag, Chinese opera troupe sets new visit

ROSA SALTER RODRIGUEZ | The Journal Gazette

The Chinese opera troupe whose visit to Fort Wayne in March was scuttled because of visa problems will perform here in October.

The Taizhou Luantan Opera will have two performances Oct. 15 at Arts United's Performing Arts Center, 303 E. Main St., Robert Anweiler, president of Fort Wayne Sister Cities, said Wednesday.

That group is spearheading the visit to celebrate five years as a sister city with Taizhou, on the East China Sea in Zhejiang province.

The first performance will be at 2 p.m. and geared toward children who will be admitted free along with their accompanying adults, Anweiler said. The second performance will be at 7 p.m., and all tickets are $10.

Tickets are available at the center.

The troupe performs traditional Chinese entertainment, including singing, instrumental music, colorful costumes and acrobatics. The style is about 400 years old. 

“While it's called Chinese opera, it has more to it than traditional Western opera, although both involve storytelling,” Anweiler said.

The troupe ran into difficulty because it had applied for B1 or B2 visitor visas. It actually required P visas. Those visas go to athletes, artists and entertainers who are being paid and require documentation that they are not affecting the livelihood of local artists.

Anweiler said the visitors will arrive Oct. 12 and leave Oct. 16, a shorter time period than proposed for the March visit. As a result, the troupe likely will not be able to perform at IPFW as previously hoped, he said.

Troupe members also will not be able to visit area schools as had been planned for March, when the visit was to have coincided with Fort Wayne FAME programming, he said.

But the nearly 25 visitors will meet local government officials and tour Fort Wayne to get a taste of the city's life and culture, Anweiler added.

He added that the troupe is now being interviewed at the U.S. consulate in Shanghai to gain final permission to travel.

“We're certainly hoping they will pass,” he said. “We don't foresee any roadblocks. We are – what is the phrase? – cautiously optimistic at this point.”  

rsalter@jg.net

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