Beijing Traditonal Opera
3号 Hufang Road, Beijing, China
yeschinatour.com/china-guide… - 010 6351 8284
Beijing Traditonal Opera Reviews
Peking Opera Dec 09, 2009
Known as China's national opera, Peking Opera, which originated in the late 18th century, is a synthesis of music, dance, art and acrobatics. It is the most influential and representative of all operas in China. It has a history of over 200 years already. Originally Beijing Opera was a form of local theatre, but now it has become the national-opera of China. Before Beijing Opera, Kunqu Opera was a very popular opera in Beijing, especially in the Imperial Palace and among the upper classes in Beijing.
Beijing Opera is a synthesis of stylized action, singing, dialogue and mime, acrobatic fighting and dancing to represent a story or depict different characters and their feelings of gladness, anger, sorrow, happiness, surprise, fear and sadness.
It is regarded that Beijing opera was born when the Four Great Anhui Troupes came to Beijing in 1790. Beijing opera was originally staged for the court and came into the public later. In 1828, some famous Hubei troupes came to Beijing. They often jointly performed in the stage with Anhui troupes. The combination gradually formed Beijing opera's main melodies. Beijing opera is generally regarded as having fully formed by 1845. Although it is called Beijing opera (Beijing theatre style), its origins are in the southern Anhui and eastern Hubei, which share the same dialect of Xiajiang Mandarin (Lower Yangtze Mandarin).
Based upon traditional Anhui Opera, it has also adopted repertoire, music and performing techniques from Kun Opera and Qingqiang Opera as well as traditional folk tunes in its development, eventually forming its own highly stylized music and performing techniques.
Peking Opera can be divided into "civil" pieces, which are characterized by singing, and "martial" ones, which feature acrobatics and stunts. Some operas are combination of both.
Beijing opera's two main melodies; Xipi and Erhuang originated from Shaanxi but developed in Anhui and Hubei. Xipi literally means 'Western Skin Puppet Show', referring to the puppet show that is originated from Shaanxi province. Puppet Shows in China always involve singing. Much dialogue is also carried out in an archaic form of Standard Mandarin, in which Zhongyuan Guanhua (Zhongyuan Mandarin) dialects in Henan and Shaanxi are closest. This form of standard Mandarin is recorded in the book Zhongyuan Yinyun. It also absorbed music and arias from other operas and local Zhili musical art forms. Some scholars believe that the Xipi musical form was derived from the historic Qinqiang, while many conventions of staging, performance elements, and aesthetic principles were retained from Kunqu, the form that preceded it as court art.
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