June 21, 2016 -- The opera highlights local culture with its costumes, music and dances. [Photos by Palden Nyima/China Daily]
June 21, 2016 -- Performed at 4,020 meters above sea level in the Tibet autonomous region's Gyaltse county, "Gyaltse Traces" is believed to be the world's highest live action opera.
It was first staged in August 2014, using aid money from the Shanghai municipal government, and commemorates resistance to the British invasion of Tibet in 1904.
This year's run began on Wednesday evening in Gyaltse's Damag Square, which is surrounded by the ancient Gyaltse Castle, Palgong Stupa, and Norbu Hill.
The opera reflects the culture of Gyaltse, an important grain producing region to the south of Xigaze whose name means "summit of victory" in the Tibetan language, while simultaneously telling the story of its agriculture civilization and Tibet's peaceful liberation.
More than 300 local farmers and nomads have been recruited to work as actors and actresses in the opera, supplementing their daily income by appearing on stage in the evenings.
One such player is Basang Norgyal, who said the opera aims to "remind the younger generations to remember their true history".
"It's my honor to have been playing in the opera for three years, it makes life meaningful and joyful, and I believe my continuous participation will make me have a longer life," said the 63-year-old, who is paid 100 yuan ($15) for each show he appears in.
Phurbu Butri, a dancer, said she treasured the opportunity to be in the production and provide her family with another source of income.