Peking Opera (Cultural China Series)
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Since its ironical origins from South China, and not Beijing, the Peking Opera is the most popular form of Chinese entertainment. The author gives information on the Peking Opera¡¯s makeup, music and acting techniques. It also has biographies of renowned Peking Opera performers and its two-centuries-old history. With b&w and color photos.
(role of young man) is not equivalent to the tenor, nor is the painted face to the bass, nor a qing yi to the soprano, nor a lao dan (elderly woman) to an alto. A performer can play any role as long as he or she masters the singing style of that particular role. An actress can play the role of a painted face - a male character, whereas a male actor can play a dan (female) role. by courtesy of Mei Lanfang Museum. P eking Opera There are some 300 opera types in China, and their 60
in Shandong). To literati at the time, these operas were far inferior to kunqu opera, which is refined and serious. With much disdain, they called these local operas huabu. The popularity of huabu had something to do with its popular appeal. Huabu plays tell historical stories or folk tales loved by the laboring people. Singing was lucid, lively and intense, and recitations were easy to understand. The ugly ducklings became so popular that many huabu companies competed for turf even in Suzhou,
Opera, transcending classes and geographical division, demonstrated great vitality. Peking Opera’s aesthetic qualities – combinations of form and spirit, of abstractness and substance and of sound and pantomime, and its time and spatial freedoms – are all connected with this integration. For a long historical period, China’s theatrical culture i n c l u d i n g Pe k i n g O p e r a c r e a t e d b e a u t y a s we l l a s entertainingness. In acting style, Peking Opera has evolved from simplicity
bangzi opera. As a result, these troupes people can enjoy Anhui Opera, the predecessor of Peking had rich and colorful tunes as well as a wide range of Opera. interesting plays. Their actors had developed feats and stunts. Before coming to Beijing, the Auhui huabu opera combined the characteristics of tunes of er huang and xi pi, the former is steady and melancholy, the latter is brisk and lively, er huang and xi pi constitute the core of the tune of Peking Opera. In addition, the Anhui
losing battle. The number of people who love to watch Peking Opera has been declining. Younger generations have a strong sense of estrangement for traditional Peking Operas that reflect ancient life. “I don’t understand Peking Opera and I don’t like to watch it”is a common attitude among young people. Peking Opera is part of a traditional culture. It is unavoidable for people of the present age to feel estranged from it. The Chinese government has paid great attention to the promotion, protection