Performance Art That Has Enriched Itself with Merits of Other Forms of Art
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Beijing Opera Guide: Detailed guide to the history and culture of the Beijing Opera.
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Peking opera is a purely Chinese opera form
which dates back to the year 1790. That year four
local opera troupes of Anhui Province came to
Beijing on a performance tour on the order of the
imperial court. The tour was a hit and the troupes
stayed. The artists absorbed the tunes of the
Hubei local opera and drew on the best of Kun
Qu, Qin Qiang and Bang Zi and other local
For the painted role, the different colors of
the faces represent different characters and
personality. Yellow and white represent cunning,
red stands for uprightness and loyalty, black
means valor and wisdom, blue and green indicate
the vigorous and enterprising character of rebellious heroes and gold and silver represent mystic
or super-natural power.
Mei Lan Fang--a famous performer of dan in Beijing Opera
an example of Chou (Xi Men Bao )
"Sheng, dan, jing, chou," for instance, are
just the terms for four different types of roles.
"sheng" is the positive male role, "dan" is the
positive female role, "jing" is a supporting male
role with striking character and "chou" is the
clown. Every type has its telltale facial makeup
But actually, "piao you" means Peking opera
fans, "piao fang" means the place where fans meet
to amuse themselves and "xia hai" means turning
professional. When you come across with a small
group of Peking opera fans singing in a street
corner, that corner can be considered a "street
piao fang." There is no lacking of social celebrities
among Peking opera fans. Emperor Guang Xu of
Qing Dynasty, for example, was not only a good
amateur Peking opera singer, but was also a good
drummer in the Peking opera orchestra (the
drummer plays the role of the director of the
orchestra). The Empress Dowager was an avid
Peking opera fan, too. The huge three-storey
theater in the Summer Palace is a proof of her love
for Peking opera.
dress used in Beijing Opera
boot with thick base and tiger-head boot used in Beijing Opera
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