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Beijing Opera - Essay Example

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Culture relates to the specific way of life of a given group of people. It relates to the language of communication, beliefs, norms, social activities, arts & sciences, spirituality, social interaction, and line of thought. …
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Beijing Opera
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Beijing Opera

This traditional Chinese theatre differs from opera, pantomime, and drama and puts more emphasis to 'Chang (Singing)', 'Nian (Speaking)', 'Zuo (Acting), and 'Da (Fighting)'. The Beijing Opera originated from the middle period of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and entails four performances that include Anhui – Sanqing Troupe, Sixi Troupe, Chungong Troupe, and Chun Troupe that reside in Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai China1. Indeed, there were many names for Beijing Opera in its history such as Pihuang, Erhuang, Huang Qiang, Peking Opera, Pingju Opera, and Chinese Opera. However, Peking Opera that was born when the 'Four Great Anhui Troupes' brought Anhui opera supersedes the rest. Beijing Opera manifests itself as one of the cultural treasures of China. Although formed in Beijing, Beijing Opera is not the native-born but a melting opera. In the Beijing Opera, singing has the certain tune that expresses the sentiment of the dramatic persona. Taiwan preserves the art form known as Guoju though it has spread to Japan and the United States. Beijing Opera is the essence of Chinese national drama and has tremendous influence in both China and abroad. According to Beijing Opera, acting is the performance of movement and expression while fighting is the martial arts performed by dancing. At the same time, Beijing Opera appreciates the pleasing stylistic and artistic harmony of the dance and music, and art designs. Beijing Opera has very strict role division that includes Sheng, Dan, Jing, and Chou. 'Sheng' acts the masculine positive role, ‘Dan’ acts the feminine positive role, and ‘Jing’ acts the supporting role of greathearted masculine, while 'Chou' acts as a lively, humorous, quick-witted masculine. Each kind of role also has different face painting and dressing to indicate their identity. More significantly, the Beijing Opera relates to the political and military struggle and has a historical theme. Beijing Opera truly represent China culture because it keeps together the diverse elements of history, mythology, literature and poetry, singing, dancing, acting, face painting, stage fighting and acrobatics in Chinese culture2. However, during the second half of the 20th century, Beijing witnessed a steady decline in audience numbers due to a decrease in performance quality and an inability of the traditional opera form to capture modern life. In addition, the production requirements of the archaic language, and the influence of Western culture is not pleasant to the development of Beijing Opera3. In light of Beijing Opera, performance is an art topic that is very dominant in this Chinese traditional theatre. Beijing Opera performances are renowned for their very vibrant and gorgeous colored costumes. A Beijing Opera performance entails story, voice, music, movement, costumes, and makeup and stage properties4. Aria is the music for the voice of Beijing Opera belongs to the Ban-Qiang. Song music and speech in a Beijing performance occur simultaneously with dance movements of the performer. There are about three kinds of plays in Beijing Opera, which include the traditional play, the historical play, and the modern play. The different Beijing performance costumes are fundamental in the Beijing Opera performance. The Beijing opera costumes were mainly made of wool or coarse cloth and decorated with various meticulously embroidered patterns with special and unique stagecraft that draws a lot of admiration and love by the audience. Face painting manifest in Beijing Opera performances to display the character of the specific role and understanding of the opera’s plot5. Beijing Opera facial painting falls into four categories ... Read More
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