You can find news and upcoming events on eChinacities.com Lanzhou in Pulse page.
Originating in Shaanxi Province, the local variety of Chinese opera is Qínqiāng Xìqǔ (秦腔戏曲). You will come across locals singing Qínqiāng in the parks, and there are more formal performances in the afternoons in the teahouse at Huáng Miào which sound like this:
Now you can find out more about this regional Chinese opera by visiting the new Qinqiang Opera Museum in Lanzhou, on the north bank of the Yellow River. It is part of the ever-developing 兰州金城关文化风情区 Lánzhōu Jīnchéngguān Wénhuà Fēngqíng Qū). It is good to finally see this area taking shape. It certainly looks impressive at night, but up until now there hasn't been a great deal to see and do there.
Read more about it here and here.
Not being in Lanzhou these days, I won't have a chance to visit this museum in the near future. So, if you do visit, please comment below.
Chinese: 中国秦腔博物馆 (Zhōngguó Qínqiāng Bówùguǎn)
Getting there: Map
Other museums: See here
If you are particularly interested in seeing some outdoor performances, you should head 1.5 km downstream of Zhongshan Bridge to the Retired Officials Park (老干部公园 Lǎogànbù Gōngyuǎn) west of the Huánghé Dàqiáo Bridge (黄河大桥). Click the photos to open up a map.
This isn't the real name of the park (no one I asked seems to know it), but I've named it after the 'Retired Officials Activity Centre' (老干部活动中心 lǎogànbù huódòng zhōngxīn) next door.
In the afternoons it is usually buzzing with music performances of traditional local opera, ballroom dancing lessons, and games of Chinese chess or cards. There are masseuses, boiled egg sellers, newspaper vendors, as well as plenty of tables and chairs where you can sit, drink tea, and take it all in.
Walking north from Nánguān Shízì (南关什字), I stopped to listen to this blind erhu player, who was across the road from the main entrance to the the provincial government compound, at the east end of the pedestrian section of Zhāngyē Lù ( 张掖路).
When someone told him the foreigner had put a few kuai into his box, he played the following medley:
Jiāolóng Sì (蛟龙寺) is on a hillside overlooking the village of Qīnggăng (青岗), about 20km south of Lanzhou on the old road to Línxià (临夏).
At the temple
Pre-recorded buddhist chanting, playing on a loop in a quieter temple:
The old and new roads to Linxia:
Looking back over Qinggang towards Lanzhou:
BBC Radio 3 is in the middle of a two week Focus on China.