Opera troupe tours rural China defending a dying art


For the 50-year-old Chinese opera performer, every aspect of the dimly-lit backstage room was a reminder that things had changed.

The elaborate costumes carelessly thrown aside, the young troupe members playing with their smartphones, the half-eaten noodles abandoned in the corner -- all were tokens of disorder that made Li Zhiguo grimace in his blue and gold cap.

"I get angry sometimes watching my students perform, because their heart isn't in it," Li said.

"But when they ask me if rehearsing diligently will guarantee them a good living, I have nothing to say."