Posted: 2008-01-16 08:52:00
Beijing (http://beijing.travel.at0086.com/)opera, also known as Peking Opera to westerners, is deemed the national opera of China.
The accompanying music, singing and costumes are all fascinating and artistic. Full of Chinese cultural elements, the opera presents to the audience an encyclopedia of Chinese culture as well as unfolding stories, beautiful paintings, exquisite costumes, graceful gestures and acrobatic fighting.
Since Beijing Opera enjoys a higher reputation than other local operas, almost every province of China has more than one Beijing Opera troupe.
There're also many troupes formed by non-professional performers, who are called "piaoyou" in Chinese.
Beijing (http://beijing.travel.at0086.com/)Opera is so popular among Chinese people, especially seniors, that even a "Beijing Opera Month" has been declared.
Beijing Opera has an over 200-year history. The main melodies originated from Xipi and Erhuang, originally from Anhui and Hubei province respectively and over time techniques from many other local operas were incorporated.
It is said that Beijing Opera gradually came into being after 1790 when the famous four Anhui opera troupes came to Beijing. Beijing Opera underwent fast development during the reign of Emperor Qianlong and the notorious Empress Dowager Cixi under the imperial patron, and eventually became more accessible to the common people.
In the ancient times, Beijing Opera was performed mostly on open-air stages in markets, streets, teahouses or temple courtyards. The band had to play loudly and the performers had to develop a piercing style of singing, in order to be heard over the crowds.
The costumes were a garish collection of sharply contrasting colors because the stages were dim and lit only by oil lamps.
It is a harmonious combination of Grand Opera, Ballet and acrobatic display, consisting of dancing, dialogue, monologue, acrobatic combat and mime.