Zhengyi Temple Theatre

Zhengyi Temple Theatre here refers to the 300-year old opera house in a temple-turned guildhall in Beijing. Chinese version of Zhengyi Temple Theatre is 正乙祠戏楼 which is often translated as Zhengyici Beijing Opera Theatre, Zhengyici Peking Opera Theatre, Zhengyici Theatre, Temple Theatre Beijing Opera House and etc.
Why Zhengyi Temple?
“Zhengyici” in Chinese means “Zhengyi Temple”. “Zhengyi” refers to an imaginary figure in Chinese history in the name of Zhao Gongming, who was bestowed as Zhengyi Xuantan, a guardian of Taoism and later was worshipped as God of Fortune. In 1667, the sixth year of Emperor Kangxi’s reign, a host of businessmen from Zhejiang Province collectively built a guildhall inside a Ming Dynasty temple. The guildhall was called “Bank Guildhall”, or “Zhejiang Banks Guildhall”, a temple guildhall. In the temple guildhall, Zhengyi Xuantan (the God of Fortune) was worshipped, hence Zhengyi Temple.
Why Zhengyi Temple Theatre?
Later in 1712, the 51th year of Emperor Kamgxi’s rein in Qing Dynaty, a two-storey theatre was built in the temple-turned guildhall for Peking opera performance, hence Zhengyici Theatre or Zhengyi Temple Theatre. So up to now 2012, the theatre is 300 years old! It is a two-storeys wooden opera house with orchestra seats – 200 seats in front of the two-level stage with box seats on the three sides on the second floor. The rear box seats are the most expensive CNY 18,000 for 12 persons. The prices for the 200 stall seats are classified into four categories – CNY280, CNY480, CNY580 and CNY680. Box seat – CNY1500 (5 persons), CNY3000(6 persons) and CNY18000(12 persons).
Zhengyi Temple Theatre is the first wooden Beijing opera house in China. With its stage facing the south, the theatre occupies an area of 1000 square meters with a traditional Chinese architecture style. It is elegantly furnished and quite rare among the theatres in the guildhalls in Beijing. Zhengyi Beijing Opera Theatre is often regarded as a living fossil in Chinese Theatrical Cultural History.
Zhengyi Temple Theatre is the first wooden Beijing opera house in China
Zhengyi Temple Theatre is the first wooden Beijing opera house in China.
What’s on Zhengyi Temple Theatre?
Starting from October, 2010, “Mei Lanfang Classics” has been on Zhengyici Theatre, which carries the cultural linkage between the Mei family and the Theatre. Mei Lanfang was born in a family of Peking Opera. His grandfather Mei Qiaoling is the most favorite male diva of Emperess Dowager. Four generations of the Mei family, from Mei Qiaoling, Mei Lanfang, up to Mei Baoqiu, all gave performances in the temple theatre Beijing Opera House.
Mei Lanfang Classics
Every Friday and Saterday, “Mei Lanfang Classics” , four highlights from his classical works bring the audience to a condensed appreciation of Beijing opera performing art within 100 minutes. On your Beijing tour, you must do three things – Great Wall Tour, Eat Beijing ducks and watch Beijing Opera. For watching Beijing opera, your first choice is Zhengyi Temple Beijing Opera – “Mei Lanfang Classics”.
Highlight One of Mei Lanfang Classics: Drunken Princess
Emperor Ming makes an appointment with the princess Yang to enjoy the flowers and drink the wine. Princess gets the banquet ready, but the emperor has gone to another princess’s palace. Princess Yang is annoyed and has to drink by herself and she gets drunk.
Drunken Princess
Highlight Two of Mei Lanfang Classiscs: Taking Command of Troops
When the lord of West Xia starts a rebellion, the female general Mu Guiying takes command of the troops again at the age of fifity.This play is the acme of Mei School and the last play of Mei lanfang through his life.
Taking Command of Troops
Highlight Three of Mei Lanfang Classics: Farewell to Princess Yu
Xiang Yu, Hegemon king of West Chu, is encircled by the king of Han. Yu, the Hegemon king’s princess, dinking and dancing, commits suicide. Afterwards, Hegemon King says farewell to his war-horse and kills himself by the Wujiang River.
Farewell to Princess Yu
Highlight Four of Mei Lanfang Classics: Sylph  Scattering Flowers Sylph
The Buddha orders the heavenly maid to scatter the blossoms in Vimalakirti Nirdesa’s room in order to test his faith. The heavenly maid scatters the blossoms in front of  Vimalakirti Nirdesa and proclaims the Buddha’s words before she returns to the west.
Sylph Scattering Flowers
Mei Lanfang Classics Peking Opera
Show Time:  8:00-9:30pm Friday and Saturday
Entrance tickets: CNY 280, CNY480, CNY580, CNY680
Add: No.22o Xiheyan Street, Qianmen, Beijing
Booking Phone Number:  010 83151650
How to get there:
subway: take subway line 2, and get off the Hepingmen station exit C1 and walk straight south from the Hepingmen subway station down Nanxinhua Street lying from north to south. On the back side or south of of Quanqude Peking Duck Restaurant, there is a hutong ( narrow lane ) named Xiheyan Street on your left side. Just walk along the lane about 150 meters, you will discover the oldest existent opera house – Zhengyi Temple Theatre in Beijing.
Zhengyi Temple Theatre is located on Xiheyan Street branching from Nanxinhua Street
Zhengyi Temple Theatre is located on Xiheyan Street branching from Nanxinhua Street
The entrance to Zhengyi Temple Theatre
The entrance to Zhengyi Temple Theatre

Tip: Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Beijing guided tours:

Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Autumn Tour
Great Wall Tour
Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings

Best Time to Visit Beijing
How to plan a trip to Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Walking Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Gui Jie ( Ghost Street) Food Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

2 thoughts on “Zhengyi Temple Theatre

  1. Hi Luke,

    Yes, you can. But you’d better use a non-professional camera like your iphone or small cameras. Please keep in mind that you don’t use flashlight during your shooting as a kind of respect to the actors on the stage. Enjoy yourself at Zhengyi Temple Theatre!

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