Beijing Opera - Peking opera
Peking opera of China is a national treasure with a history of 200 years. Peking Opera, a synthesis of music, dance, art and acrobatics, is known as China's national opera and widely regarded as the highest expression of the Chinese culture. It is the most refined form of opera in the world and one of the three main theatrical systems in the world. Although it is called Peking Opera, its origins are not in Beijing but in the Chinese provinces of Anhui and Hubei. It then absorbed repertoire, music, arias and performing techniques from other operas and musical arts in China and became the most influential and representative of all operas in China Almost every province of China has more than one Peking Opera troupe. Beijing and Tianjin are respected as the key base cities in the north while Shanghai is the base in the south.
In the 55th year of the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty(1790) ,the four big Huiban opera Troupes entered the capital and combined with Kunqu opera, Yiyang opera, Hanju opera and Luantan in Beijing's thearetical circle of the time. Through a period of more than half a century of combination and integration of various kinds of opera there evolved the present Peking opera, the biggest kind of opera in China, whose richness of repertoire, great number of artists of performance and of audiences, and profound influence are incomparable in China.
Beijing - Peking 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. In Peking opera there are four main types of roles: sheng (male) dan (young female), jing( painted face,male), and chou (clown, male or female). The characters may be loyal or treacherous, beautiful or ugly, good or bad, their images being vividly manifested.
The repertoire of Beijing - Peking opera is mainly
engaged in fairy tales of preceding dynasties, important historical
events, emperors, ministers and generals, geniuses and great beauties,
from the ancient times to Yao, Shun, Yu, the Spring and Autumn Period,
the Warring States Period and the dynasties of Qin, Han, Sui, Tang,
Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing.
The music of Peking opera is that of the "plate and cavity style".Its melody with harmonious rhythms is graceful and pleasing to the ears. The melody may be classified into two groups: "Xipi" and "erhong", guiding pattern, original pattern, slow pattern, quick pattern, desultary pattern being their chief patterns. The performance is accompanied by a tune played on wind instruments, percussion instruments and stringed instruments, the chief musical instruments being jinghu (a two-stringed bowed instrument with a high register), yueqin( a four-stringed plucked instrument with a full-moon-shaped sound box), Sanxian( a three-stringed plucked instrument), suona horn, flute drum, big-gong, cymbals, small-gong, etc.
The costumes in Beijing - Peking opera are graceful,
magnificent, elegant and brilliant, most of which are made in handicraft
embroidery. As the traditional Chinese pattern are adopted, the
costumes are of a high aesthetic value.
The types of facial make-ups in Beijing - Peking opera are rich and various, depicting different characters and remarkable images, therefore they are highly appreciated. Moreover there are numerous fixed editions of facial make-up.
Since Mei Lanfang, the grand master of Peking opera, visited Japan in 1919, Peking opera has become more and more popular with people all over the world, and it has made an excellent contribution to cultural exchange between China and the West, to friendly association and to improvement of solidarity.
Beijing - Peking opera house of Beijing has been invited to perform in U.S.A., England, France, Germany, Italy (three times), Australia, Japan( four times), Brazil, Turkey, Singapore, South korea and Hongkong (five times). The performances have made an outstanding contribution to Sino-foreign cultural exchange and to the promotion of friendly association of peoples in the world, and were highly appreciated by foreign audiences.
In 1993 Peking Opera House of Beijing as a big Peking opera troupe made a performance visit to Taiwan, pushing the cultural exchange to a new height.
Peking Opera house of Beijing is willing to participate in activities of international cultural exchange and of commercial performances and sincerely hopes that friends in various countries will make contacts with us about cultural exchange and performances.