Chinese opera theatre

Introduction of Chinese Opera

The first thing you will observe for a Chinese Opera theatre in Taipei is a lavishly, brilliant embroidered hanging. The clanging of gongs and drums or the sound of woodwinds and strings will then perform stride on stage.

At first there may be a young woman attired in silk brocade and covered by strings of pearl, as well as singing in a feminine voice and performing a billowing dance. Later, may follow a handsome, robust young man in warrior garb, showing his martial skills and somersaulting across stage. Besides that, the famous Monkey King, Sun Wu-kung, this involves the opera of "Journey to the West", with his scraping, twitching, and playful simian antics. All of these characters are delegate of China's traditional National Opera or Peking Opera.

The feature to the libretto for Peking operas which include comic and tragic component, interlarded with dancing, singing, and poetic narration, to stage popular legends and historical events. Dialog rendered in language close to everyday talk, and mime present with ordinary gestures is another style of performance.

The four main character types of Peking Opera are the sheng, dan, ching, and ch'ou. The character roles are differentiated on the basis of age, identity and sex.

The costumes which worn in the Chinese Opera performances are generally based on the clothes current in China during the Ming Dynasty, about four centuries ago. On the other hand, like the facial make-up, the Chinese Opera costumes not only tell much about the character wearing them, but also being aesthetically appealing. Formerly, the Chinese Opera singers would not wear the costume which was incorrectly represent the character he was depicting.

At the beginning, the Chinese Opera was completed against only a background, with the other three sides open. The set is very simple and it just includes a table which can stand in for an official's table, a desk, or even a bridge or hill. Special transfers from one locate to another are economic and smooth. The actors have to improve a set of experienced formulae of formative signify over the centuries. The male characters have to worn the beards; weapons used in fighting; and flowing sleeves, fans, and colored satin ribbons are all different kind of banners that show extensions of human limbs. And all of these need a high degree of skill to manage, and contain rich theatrical meaning. Actors who want to be able to carry off naturally and with complete ease the eye movements, gestures, singing and reciting style, and gait that present the feeling and idea of the opera characters that must begin receiving rigorous training from their young age.

Previously, the Peking Opera trend to be a "theatre for actors." Actors able to give extemporaneous performances drew on the tradition. Who provide the musical accompaniment with the two-stringed violin and moon lute, had to prepare a high degree of sensibility to and arrange with the actors through years of cooperate to be able to do well with the performance. Whatever, Modern Chinese Opera is now set in a box-type arena, and an arena design, professional lighting and director system are gradually being presented. These new part are served to improve the viewing experience and performance, as long as there are not violate the traditional gist of the opera.


Chinese Opera which are the one of the most popular forms of amusement in the Tang Dynasty. The first national opera troupe which called "Pear Garden" was created by the Tang Dynasty Emperor Hsuan Tsung (712-755 A.D.). Chinese Opera entertainers are still referred to as "Disciples of the Pear Garden", since that was more than a millennium after Hsuan Tsung's death. The actors still continue to perform an amazing 368 different forms of Chinese Opera.

In the beginning, theatre known in the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279) which are build up with a square stage enclosed by rail. The southern play was the most popular theatrical form at the time, was either spoken or sung, written in rhymed verse, in which of the dialogue. There have no internal divisions such like scenes or acts for the three extant southern play scripts and composed by anonymous writing societies. Based on the contemporaneous descriptions, the opera were performed with a string and wind orchestra, and also an offstage chorus to accompany the major arias, obviously along with the audience.

The Mongol conquerors patronized a northern form of opera called zaju, or "mutli-act" play usually divided into four acts beginning in the thirteenth century. Compare to the southern plays, the main character alone sang a lyric verse and using a single major rhyme scheme throughout the entire act, while the other characters spoke their lines. In northern China, such like Shanxi and Gansu Provinces, there has enhance many of the characteristic that characterize modern Chinese Opera. These included the use of certain set characters: Dan-the woman, Hua-painted face, Sheng-the man, and Chou-the clown. In the Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 1279-1368), the opera had evolutional changes and began to apply the vernacular language of the public, as well as this period was classified as the Golden age of the Classical Opera.

During the Ming Dynasty (1386-1644 A.D.) and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 A.D.), the Shanxi northern traditional drama style and singing was cooperative with song from a southern form of Chinese Opera which called Kunqu. Kunqu was created in the Wu region which is along the Yangtze River. This Opera revolves around the Kunshan melody and was created in the coastal city of Kunshan. Most of the famous operas from the Kunqu repertoire are continued to be presented today, which including: "The Peach Blosssom Fan," "The Peony Pavilion," and rearrange of the older "Journey to the West," and "Romance of the Three Kingdoms." However, the stories have been rendered into several local dialects, which include Mandarin for audience in northern cities. No matter is the singing and acting techniques, or costumes and make-up conventions, also owe much to the northern Shanxi or Qinqiang tradition.

Chinese Opera make-up is the most fascinating and rich in meaning. The hero type characters are normally painted in relatively simple colours, whereas bandits, rebels, enemy and the others have make more complicated designs on their faces. Colours use to distinguish the characters. For example, a character with a red mask or mostly red make-up is honest, virtue and straight forwardness. Yellow symbolizes ambition. Pink denotes cool-headedness and sophistication, while black stands for uprightness, impartiality and boldness. Characters with primarily white faces are cunning, wickedness and treachery, while blue faces show fierce, wild temperament and far-seeing. Those with green faces are pride, toughness and impulsive. Eventually, an actor with only a small part of make-up in the centre of the face, connecting the eyes and nose, is a clown. This is called xiaohualian, or the "little painted face." A mix of multiple colours signifies a more complicated personality.

Later in the 19th century, the Chinese Opera was dominated by a form called Peking Opera characteristic facial expressions, colourful costumes, elaborate make up and was sung and spoken in Mandarin dialect. In addition, the others operatic form also progressed using the dialects of different areas, such as Guangzhou, Suzhou, Shanghai and Chiuzhou. And most of the time, the opera which are come from fabled tales and some are from in rendition of actual historical events such as the "Outlaws of the Marsh" and "The Three Kingdoms".

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