Chinese opera is a comprehensive stage art form with a long history. The art form had undergone numerous transformations during the Han, Tang and Song dynasties. It combines literature, music, dance, fine arts, martial arts, acrobatics and performance arts.
Also known as “Pi Huang”,BeiJing Opera gets its melody from those of “Xi Pi” and “Er Huang.” It was first practiced and performed in Beijing. The opera thrived in the 1930s and 1940s and is honored as the “quintessence of Chinese culture.”
With a history of nearly 600 years, Kunqu Opera is called the “mother of all operas,” which exerted influences to the formation and development of local operas such as Peking Opera and Sichuan Opera. With energetic, beautiful and slow melodies, the opera boasts fine performance and dance forms.
Also known as Henan Bangzi, it is one of the major operas in Henan Province. Henan Opera can be seen in regions around the Yangtze River and Yellow River area, and even as far west as Xinjiang and Tibet.
Originating in Shengzhou of Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, Shaoxing Opera key feature is its expression of emotions with beautiful melodies and elegant style and depiction of the places south of the Yangtze River. It boasts various sects, mainly on stories of talented young man and beautiful woman.
Originating in east Hebei Province, Pingju Opera is popular in north China. It has great influence in the creation and performance of modern operas. In 2006, it was among the first to be listed as a national intangible cultural heritage.
The local opera common in Shaanxi Province, Qinqiang is also called Shaanxi Bangzi. It is the earliest Bangzi melody, formed in the mid-Ming Dynasty. Qinqiang boasts rough and simple performances and loud and strong melodies. The shrill, screech-like singing style is used to demonstrate the tragedy of the stories being told.
A major local opera of Anhui Province, Huangmei Opera attracts audiences with the thick atmosphere and aroma of life and local flavor. Plays such as the Love Between a Fairy and a Young Man, and the Princess’ Wrong Love are popular both at home and abroad.
The most influential opera using the Guangdong dialect and with a history of more than 300 years, Guangdong Opera utilizes multiple music and opera elements and has become the great performance combining the opera arts of both north China and south China.
A local opera of Sichuan Province, Sichuan Opera consists of five melody styles of kunqu, gaoqiang, huqin voice, tanxi and dengdiao. Featuring loud voice and humorous performances, Sichuan Opera is a lively performance.
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