Beijing Massage Guide

All About the Beijing Opera

2017-06-22 08:07:47 | views


 Peking Opera, more commonly known as Beijing Opera first flourished in the 18th-19th century, in the Qing Dynasty. It was highly reputable and only performed in the royal court; only later was it made public. This art later became the cultural jewel of Shianghai, Tianjin, and Beijing, but it actually originated from the Hubei and Anhui province. Through time, it spread past the Great Wall of China into other countries such as Japan, Taiwan, and the United States of America.

Dancers in the Beijing opera are always graceful. Story lines usually deal with Chinese age old history and folklore and is depicted through song, dance, music, dialogues of archaic dialect, and even combat. Bright-colored outfits are the key in the Beijing opera, as performers wish to be the center of attention on stage. Beijing opera always has historical value and this tradition has been carried on to garner the most respect. Performer in the Beijing opera start training at a very young age with the parents' permission, and training continues for seven years; payment is done through future performances. A performer's day starts very early and consists of training, acting, combat, and acrobatics. Once students reach senior year, they will be allowed to do evening performances. If mistakes were made, students would be punished with a bamboo cane, but things are more lenient since the 1900s. Schools were actually shut down during the 1931 Japanese invasion, but were re-opened in 1952. Today, the most renowned schools for Beijing opera are the Qi Lington School, the Ma Lianliang School, and the Cheng Yanqiu School. There are around four hundred works that can be used in Beijing opera.


The Four Anhui Troupes are still given the title as the makers of Beijing opera in the 16th century. In the 17th century, the Hubei troupes decided to band together with them and they ended up fully formed by mid-1800s. Beijing opera fuses various dance forms and music together with an added unique twist. There are four leading characters that bring the Beijing opera together: Sheng, the male lead; Laosheng, the old and wise man; Xiaosheng, the younger man who is widely known because of his shrill and loud voice; and Wusheng, the warrior. All these four characters exude an air of sophistication and gentleness and their costumes are always subtle. There are two categories to the character of Laosheng: Guan Gong, the God of War; and Zhao Kuang-yin, the first emperor of the Song Dynasty.


Later, these male actors, also called Jing, started to paint their faces. Although the majority of them were mostly only supporting characters, they were still powerful and spoke very huskily with exaggerated expressions. Dan is the female lead and is separated into five categories: Laodan, the older woman; Wudan, the middle-aged married woman; Daomadan, the brave female warrior; Qingyi, the righteous woman; and Huadan, the nave, innocent, young girl. Sometimes, the role of Qingyi and Huadan are combined and when this happens, the character is known as Huashan.


Chou is the minor male clown role; he is mostly only there to add a little bit of humor to the more serious scenes. Chou doesn't get to sing much, unlike the same role that can also be found in the Kunqu Opera. In Beijing opera, Chou's role has cut down a lot of his part in the vocals and in singing. Acrobatics are more prominent in Beijing opera, so even if actors aren't very good with the songs, they still have the right and the opportunity to perform with the troupe due to their acrobatic skills.


The drama is accompanied by music, which is separated into two categories: Xipi by the Anhui troupes, and Erhuang by the Hubei troupes. Based on this music and due to the sudden change in time and location, Beijing opera's former name, Pihuang, was changed to what it is today. The melodies are fixed in arias, sometimes also called Guoju in Taiwan.


The Anhui troupes only became famous after the Beijing opera was formed and they were then invited to various kingdoms so that they could perform. Empress Dowager Cixi was a big fan of the art and greatly encouraged these performances. All performing troupes only had male actors when they started off, since female actresses were banned by the Qianlong Emperor; but this changed in the 1870s when Li Maoer decided to start a Beijing opera female troupe. This then convinced others to take the lead and the ban was officially and formerly lifted in 1912.