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Chinese Operas


Chinese opera is an essential portion of Chinese intangible heritage, and also one gem of Chinese traditional culture. They reflect the real folk life of China, and release the likes and dislikes of Chinese grassroots. This is an important reason why Chinese operas can be rooted in Chinese culture and society for such a long time! Chinese people especially the rural citizens prefer to watch the opera performances as to show their expectations and pursuits of ideal life, which are totally different from the reality. In other words, the romantic and realistic stores performed in operas are their dreams, dissatisfaction, aspiration and ideas. Different from western operas, both of the forms and the stories are unique and distinctive. The form of operas shows the difference of costumes and performance styles as well as the skills or talents that the performers need; as for the stories, it is more vivid, besides there are no exact tragic stories performed on stages, just because Chinese people are traditionally eager to have a good end or have a hopeful end in the operas. Currently, in China, many types of operas are available. The famous kinds of opera include: Peking Opera, Kunqu Opera, Yue Opera, Huangmeixi Opera, Qingqiang Opera, Yu Opera, Xiju Opera, Tibetan Opera and so on.

 

 

Peking Opera

Beijing Opera(Peking Opera, 京剧) is an art form unique to Beijing, with nearly 200 years of history. With a foundation in Hui and Han dramatic styles, it gradually developed and formed by absorbing the characteristics of other dramatic styles such as Kunqu and Qinqiang. In 1790, Hui Drama entered Beijing, an event marked by the appearance of the Hui drama troupe, "Sanqing", famous in Anhui province, on the local scene. Not long after the Sanqing troupe, other troupes followed: the Sixi, Hechun, and Chuntai troupes successively entered and performed in Beijing. These four teams established Beijing Opera, and are together known as the Four Troupes of Hui Drama...

Kunqu Opera

Kunqu Opera (昆曲) is one of the kinds of Chinese opera singing and drama style. The significant characteristics are elegiac lyricism, delicate gestures and expressions, and great harmony in singing tone and dancing motions. The musical accompaniment consists of Chinese ancient instruments such as Chinese flute, suona trumpet, sanXian, pipa and traditional percussion. It traces its origin to the late Yuan Dynasty in Kunshan (昆山), east of Suzhou city. Gu Jian (顾坚) and some others compiled the local folk operas and songs, and improved. He called the new born genre as "Kunshan Singing Style", which was the rudiment of modern Kunqu Opera...

Yue Opera

Yue Opera(越剧)is one of Chinese major local operas, which are comprised of many different kinds, such as Huangmeixi Opera of Anhui province, Yue Opera(粤剧) of Guangdong province,Yu Opera of Henan province, Kunqu Opera of Jiangsu province, Qinqiang Opera of Shaanxi province, Jinju Opera of Shanxi province, Errenzhuan Opera of Norheast of China, Chuanju Opera of Sichuan province and so on. Yue Opera is a typical representative of Chinese local operas. It is widely welcomed in Zhejiang province, Shanghai, Jiangsu province, Anhui province and other places. Yue Opera is generally considered to be an elegant opera.

Huangmeixi opera

Huangmeixi Opera(黄梅戏) is a major local opera in Anhui province of China. It is widely welcomed in Huibei province, Jiangxi province, Fujian province, Zhejiang province, Jiangsu province and Taiwan province as wellas some parts of Hong Kong. The original name of Huangmeixi is Huangmeidiao(in Chinese,黄梅调 ). It was the local folk songs or voices sung by refugees or beggars. They performed the opera for survival. It is firstly appeared in Huibei province, and later a part of the performers came to Anqing, and combined with the local performance style. It finally formed its own characteristics.

Qinqiang Opera

 Qinqiang Opera(秦腔) is cultural heritage, in 1912 the drama group Yi Su She (易俗社) was founded and now the society has still been flourishing. The renowned Chinese author Lu Xun attended their high performance five times during his lecturing in Xian in summer 1924. He also contributed part of his salary to the drama group. The Northwest University was founded in 1912 and become state run in 1924. The higher educational institutions in Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai and Shaanxi were being cooperated or combined to set up the new University. Nowadays Northwest University is one of the key higher educational institutions in China.

Xiju Opera

Xiju Opera(锡剧) is one of the major local operas in Jiangsu Province. So far it has experienced for one-hundred years. It was originated from the integration of Wuxi Tanhuang and CHangzhou Tanhuang (“滩簧” in Chinese. It is the forerunner of local opera in southern area of Yangtze River. It was a popular speaking and singing art form in Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces. During the ruling period of Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty, it was sent to Beijing. The reasons for its popularity generally became the Kunqu Opera in Southern area of Yangtze River were authoritative, but it was too elegant and bookish to be understood by the mass, so it gradually became the understandable and welcome style).

Nuoxi Opera

Guichi Nuo Opera(傩戏) is one of the old and rare operas in Anhui province, and it is mainly famous the villages or communities at the foot of Jiuhuashan Mountain such as Liujie street, Yaojie street, Meijie street, Tangxi, Siyuan and so on. Generally it is performed in accordance with the different family with the different family name; it is mainly for god welcome, ancestor worshipping, exorcising and auspiciousness welcome. The performers generally wear different masks. They posed to be different gods or different figures or animals like lions, elephants, horses and so on. The music instruments they use generally are drums, gongs, and others.

Mulianxi Opera

Mulianxi Opera(目连戏) is the general name of the opera mainly about the theme of Mulian saved his mother. The general idea of this story is like this: the three generations of Fu Family are all Buddhism believers. After the Fuxiang who was the householder of Fu family died, his wife Liu Qingti, also called Liu Siniang, broke the prohibition of Buddhism and killed many domestic animals, besides ate the meat everyday. After her death, she was thrown into the eighteenth-class hell (in Chinese Buddhist theory, the hell was separated into 18 floor, and the ghosts are closed in different floor according to more or few wrongdoings they did when they are alive ). She suffered from a lot of punishments...

Huiju opera

Huiju Opera(徽剧) During the time of late Ming dynasty and early Qing Dynasty, Luantan voice was introduced into Anhui and combined with the folk music. Latterly, it became the Huiju opera with the influence of Ehuangqiang. In the early period of Qing dynasty, it is popular in the area of Anhui and Zhejiang. It is very extensively popular in the southern China. During the medium time of Qing Dynasty, four Huiju opera groups named respectively Sanqing, Chuntai, Sixi and Hechun, came into Beijing for celebrative performance on the 80th birthday of Emperor Qianlong. Since then Huiju became widely famous in China. Later, Huiju opera mixed with some other different styles of operas turned to be Peking opera...

Yu Opera

Yu Opera(豫剧) The history of Yu Opera traces to late Ming Dynasty or early Qing Dynasty (in mid 17th century's China). Originally, the opera was sung only by human voices without any musical accompaniment. It was easy to sing so that it had been very popular in central China. The origin of the Chinese opera genre was either from Qinqiang Drama in Shaanxi Province, or from northern folk songs. However, many Chinese believe that Yu Opera was developed from local ancient singing arts, because during late Ming Dynasty, Henan folk songs had been very popular.

tibetan opera

Tibetan Opera(藏戏)Famed as the living fossil, Tibetan Opera prevails in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and mirrors the essence of Tibetan culture. It is not only the most fabulous ethnic opera in China, but also a UNESCO World Intangible Heritage. Combining singing, dancing, acrobatics, martial art, storytelling and religious performance, Tibetan Opera is usually held in open squares, sometimes in temples and on stages from several hours to several days. One of the defining traits of Tibetan Opera is that all the performers need wear a myriad of masks with metaphoric meanings. It is also a key part of Shoton Festival, or Tibetan Opera Festival.  



 

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