Huangmei Opera – Chinese Folklore
Huangmei Opera was formed in the 18th century, when Chinese local operas were flourishing. Originally it was a combination of local folk songs, dances and some widely spread ancient operas. “The Heavenly Maid and the Mortal” is the most famous one.
The music of Huangmei Opera is its essential attraction. Two major kinds of music are used: Coloratura and basic tunes. The 104 coloratura tunes are taken from folk songs, tea-picking songs and other ditties. The music of Huangmei Opera is light and lyrical.
Huangmei Opera is easy to understand and learn, thanks to its lyrical tunes, simple words and literary tradition. Like other Chinese local operas, Huangmei Opear also used local dialect. Its local flavor and folk style are most vividly revealed in its original and lively dialogue.
Passion, naturalness and simplicity, are what makes Huangmei Opera an enduring drama appreciated by all.
Shaoxing Opera – Chinese Folklore
Shaoxing Opera, originated in the area of Sheng country in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province in th early period of the 20th century, is a rapidly developed local opera with a short history in China.
It was named “Shaoxing Opera” because it has its origin in part of Yue State in the Spring and Autumn Period dating back about 2,000 years ago.
The Shaoxing Opera was circulated first among the country folk in its early period of development. By now, many year’s development has made it a most important opera style next to Beijing Opera in China.
The voices of Shaoxing Opera are soft and beautiful, and easy to learn. The made role in a Shaoxing Opera play is always played by women and the characters appear exceptionally charming and natural.
Face Patterns – Chinese Folklore
When you are watching a Beijing Opera, the most impressive place to you maybe is the “painted face”. Face patterns follow a set made in composition, sketching and coloring.
Face patterns date for back in history. Ancient Chinese entertainers sometimes wore masks known as “dummy faces”. Following the development of the opera and the need of the performance, the mask was replaced by the painted face patterns.
As soon as an actor steps onto the stage, his painted face gives a clear concept of his character-loyal or traitorous, good or evil. The audience has long accepted such means of expression.
In general, red stands for loyalty and uprightness; purple, courage and resolution; black, toughness and straightforwardness; yellow, brutality and irascibility; white, treachery and machination; gold and silver, mythical figures.
The dominant color and the minutely executed patterns highlight the character of figures without imparting a sense of confusion.
Peking Opera – Chinese Folklore
In 1970, four famous troupes of Anhui Opera went to the imperial Palace in Beijing to offer birthday congratulations to he emperor and other members of the royal family. After their mission is accomplished, they remained in Beijing and performed for the ordinary citizens.
With their efforts to learn artistic techniques from other local operas and to meet the tastes of Beijing citizens, Beijing Opera took shape as an independent and mainstream opera form between 1840 and 1860.
Symbolism prevails in Beijing Opera. Footwork, gesture, and various kinds of boday movements can portray and symbolize the actions of opening a door, climbing a hill, going upstairs, or rowing a boat.
Typical Chinese musical instruments are sued in a Beijing Opera troupe. The two-stringed fiddles jinghu and erhu are two of the man instruments.
The character roles in Beijing Opera are divided into four main types according to the ex, age, social status, and profession of the character. Sheng refers to a male roles. Dan refers to female roles. Jing refers to the roles with painted faces. Chou, or clown, is a comic character and can be recognized at first sight for his special make-up. The costumes in Beijing Opera impress the audience with their bright colors and magnificent embroidery.
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