Beijing Opera

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operaPeking Opera

Beijing Opera of China is a national treasure with a history of 200 years. 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 theoretical circle of the time. Over a period of more than half a century of combination and integration of various kinds of opera there evolved the present Beijing Opera. Beijing Opera is the most significant of all operas in China, and it has a richness of repertoire, great number of artists and audiences, that give it a profound influence in China and plays a large role in Chinese culture.

Beijing 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. The characters may be loyal or treacherous, beautiful or ugly, good or bad, their images being vividly manifested.

The repertoire of Beijing 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. Some of them also were adopted from the literature and classical novels, which are well known among the public but may not be an accurate account of history.

Some of the popular Stories during the history are:

京剧演员化妆The Makeup of Peking Opera Performer

The music of Beijing 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, desultory 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 Opera are graceful, magnificent, elegant and brilliant, and mostly 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 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 Beijing Opera, visited Japan in 1919, Beijing 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 Opera Stage Set-up

In the past, stages in most Chinese theaters were square platforms exposed to the audience on three sides, even all sides sometimes. In the latter case, performances could be watched from the back also. An embroidered curtain known as a shoujiu was hung over the platform, which was thus divided into two parts: the back stage and the stage.

Famous Beijing Opera Players

The theatrical or musical occupation was considered the lowest class in the society. Opera performance used to be a male dominated profession. Mixed performances were prohibited. All the roles were played by male.

Roles in Beijing Opera

The ten Chinese characters shown on left are from a song sung in a Chinese New Year Eve television program. It probably says everything about the roles in Beijing Opera.

Li Yuan Theater — the Best Place to Enjoy the Beijing Opera

peking operaPeking Opera Theatre in Beijing

Location: 1st Floor, Qianmen Jianguo Hotel NO.175, Yong'an Road, Xuanwu Distrct, Beijing 北京市宣武区永安路175号前门建国饭店1楼

Transportation:

  • From Beijing Capital International Airport 北京首都国际机场:To Beijing South Train Station by Airport Line NO, To Taoran Bridge North Stop 陶然桥北站 by Electrical Bus NO.102 or 106, To Hufang Road Stop 虎坊路站 by Bus NO.343, 70, 603 or Electrical Bus NO.102 and walk to the theatre for 255m.
  • From Beijing West Train Station 北京西站:To Hufang Bridge Road East Stop 虎坊桥路口东站 by Bus NO.57, 201 or 715 and walk to the theatre for 307m.

Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm daily year round
Ticket Pricing: 200CNY, 280CNY, 380CNY, 480CNY, 580CNY / Person depending on the seat

Booking:

  • Book the ticket on your own;
  • Book a Beijing tour including the Peking opera show with China Highlights. 
Hi, I'm Ruru Zhou
I updated this article on April 10, 2014
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Questions and Answers About Beijing Opera

yus 2013-11-07
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Please kindly inform me how to invite Beijing Opera to Indonesia, how much does it cost ? To whom should I contact ? I plan to bring them in to Indonesia in next Chinese New Year for 14 days. Is there anyway to regularly show in Indonesia ? since lots of Indonesian people are interested in Chinese Culture. I also welcome any idea to bring world class chinese culture to Indonesia.thanks
Dear Yus, Thank you for your inquiry! For overseas Beijing Opera performance, I recommend the China National Peking Opera Company. They often give performance outside of China. Here is their contact: Tel:86-10-58519609 Fax:86-10-58519608 E-mail:zhongguojingju@vip.sina.com http://www.cnpoc.cn/en_index.asp Doris Huang replied on 2013-11-07
nur afifah abdullah 2013-02-17
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Greetings,Could you recommend me a 4 star hotel close by many muslim food options. I will be travelling with my husband and two adult children (11 & 13). Interested in muslim chinese food, street inexpensive shopping, visit to mosques, summer palace, forbidden city, great wall
Dear Nur, Thank you for your inquiry. The famous Muslim area in Beijing is Niujie Street, here are two 4 star hotels near Niujie Street: Zhongmin Plaza 北京中民大厦 Add: No.7 Baiguang Road, Xicheng District, Beijing (北京 西城区 白广路7号) Tel: (86)010-83539988 Guidu Hotel 北京贵都大酒店 Add: Guang An Men Nei Street, Xicheng District, Beijing (北京 西城区 广安门内大街217号) Tel: (86)01083172288 We are happy to tailor made a Muslim tour for your family, would you please answer a few questions so that we can construct an itinerary that gives you what you want at the best possible price? 1. Length of stay in China 2. City or cities of entry/exit 3. Start date of Tour 4. Estimative total budget per person. Please feel free to email me at: doris@chinahighlights.net I'm looking forward to hear from you! Doris Huang replied on 2013-02-19
Jolene 2012-10-11
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Could you please tell me how to book a Chinese opera?
Dear Jolene, We can book Liyuan Opera ticket for you. Liyuan theatre is located at NO.175 Yong'an Road, Xuanwu District.The performance stars from 19:30 pm to 20:40 pm.The theater is divided into five sections, such as A, B, C, D and VIP. Here are the different tickets fee which is including the deliver fee and service fee. Our gudie will deliver the tickets to the front office of your hotel in advance. A: 1st, 2nd, 6th and Side seating in 5th Rows (RMB300/US$48 per person), B: Special Zone (RMB400/US$63 per person), C: Seat in the 6th Row and beyond (RMB220/US$35 per person), D: Balcony Seats (RMB220/US$35 per person), VIP Section: (RMB500/US$79 per person) If you need to book it, please feel free to contact me directly, my e-mail is lussie@chinahighlights.net. I also can arrange tours for you. Lussie Lu replied on 2012-10-11
Dennis Balog 2012-08-15
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Do you still have Beijing Opera T Shirts and how could I order one?Thanks.

Hi Dennis, We don't have it now.  Our tour guide in Beijing can show you where to buy it.

Whitney Liao replied on 2012-08-16
Luka 2012-08-10
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Hi - where do I book OR see Beijing Opera? I will be there between 15.09.12-22.09.12
Hi Luka, There are some opera theaters in Beijing, below is two of the most famous ones recommended to you. 1. Hu Guang Hui Guan opera theater Address:3, Hufang Road, Xuanwu District, Beijing 2. Liyuan Opera Theater Address:Qianmen Hotel, 175, Yong'an Road, Hufang Bridge, Xuanwu District, Beijing We can arrange the tickets and transfer for you from your hotel to the theater. We also can tailor-make a China tour for you. If you are interested in it, please feel free to contact me. whitney@chinahighlights.net Whitney Liao replied on 2012-08-12
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