Beijing Opera star Ghaffar Pourazar will be honored Tuesday "for outstanding contributions in performing and promoting Beijing Opera internationally" with the Great Wall Friendship Award in a ceremony at the Beijing Municipal Government office.

UK-born Pourazar will join 14 other foreigners for the annual presentation, given by Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun. The honor is "Beijing's highest award for foreign experts," according to People's Daily.

After seeing Beijing Opera for the first time in the UK in 1993, Pourazar moved to Beijing and began studying the traditional movements in a chilcren's class. He ultimately settled on the role of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, the opera's most beloved and mischievous character.

Having performed throughout China, including during the annual CCTV Spring Festival Gala broadcast, Pourazar adapted Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream for Beijing Opera, and directed the China National Troupe in performing it both in China and the UK.

Pourazar is currently splitting his time between Beijing and Nanjing, where he is opening the Playbox English Theatre, a school to teach children music and performance, in English.

Previous winners of the Great Wall Friendship Award include former Siemens China President Ernst Behrens, I.T. United founder Cyrill Eltschinger, and ABB China President Claudio Facchin.

Photo: Ghaffar Pourazar

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