Beijing Opera - Chinese Culture Introduction

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Beijing Opera



Beijing Opera is the Chinese National Quintessence, which is one of the most important opera styles popular in China. It has about 200 years history. It is a synthesizing performance art form, combining singing, monologizing, acting, martial fighting and dancing.

The development of Beijing Opera cost nearly 150 years. At early Qing dynasty, Anhui opera groups were popular in southern area. In 1790, three well-known opera groups from Anhui province, a southern province beyond the Yangtze River, headed to Beijing to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Qianlong Emperor of the time. From then on, more and more Anhui opera groups entered Beijing in succession. In 1828, some opera groups from Hubei province arrived in Beijing. Since Hubei located near Anhui, these two opera styles were similar in some degree. They were always acted in the same stage. Gradually, a new opera with Beijing dialect pronunciation was born.

To foreign friends, maybe the most attracting charm of Beijing Opera is the gorgeous dressing. Colorful facial paintings are dressed according to characters
personality. The red ones suggest royalty and justice; the black ones means rectitude, intrepidity and sometimes impertinence; the yellow ones express atrocity; the blue or green ones describe rudeness and termagancy while the white ones imply treacherous court official. All these paintings strengthen the peoples characters and bring more visual enjoyment.

The opera
s performance requires not only the mellow voice but also the martial actions proficiency. A successful opera actor must suffer from the tough practicing period. In the old time, the children of poor family were sent to the opera group in order to earn a living. While now, the real opera artists are well respected by opera lovers.


There is no boundary in art field. Enjoy the Beijing Opera and it is really an enjoyment for both visual and acoustical feeling.