Originally a form
of local theatre, it spread all over the country
and has become the national opera of China.
Peking Opera combines stylized acting with singing,
dancing, musical dialogue, martial arts, colorful
facial make up and fantastic costumes. Female
roles are called dan, male roles are sheng, clowns
are chou. Each role, according to their sex, age
and disposition, is characterized by different
designs of facial make-up. So the audience can
easily tell what kind of characters the actors
are portraying. Facial make-up, costumes and head
- dresses are wonderful works of traditional art.
It is a must to see a Peking Opera while you are
in Beijing, equivalent to seeing an opera if you
go to Italy.
Puppet shows in
China have an amazing history stretching back
two thousand years. Puppetry combines the different
art forms of drama, singing, dancing, music, painting
and sculpture. Like Peking Opera, the shows are
based on folk tales and the like, and are very
charming to watch, even if you don't speak Chinese.
There are shadow puppet shows as well as marionette
type puppets. The main keepers of the ancient
art of puppetry are the members of the China Puppet
Show Artistic Troupe.
the Central Symphony Orchestra is one of the few
orchestras which can offer a full repertoire from
George F. Handel to Peter Tchaikovsky. The orchestra
performs symphony concerts in Beijing Concert
Hall every week. In addition, the Beijing Symphony
Orchestra is a rising star in the field of western
troupes have traveled to many countries around
the world and have amazed audiences everywhere.
The usual tourist reaction to a Chinese acrobatics
show is something like "whoa! that was so...."
You are not sure what to say. The contortions
and balancing acts are quite incredible and sometimes
seem almost super-human, or super rubber human.
You will be at the edge of your seat through most
of the show saying "don't fall, don't drop
it!" And incredibly, they never do.
There are a couple
of national-class troupes that perform music and
dance from various parts of China. In recent years,
overseas visitors have been impressed by the Royal
Song and Dance performed by the Beijing Song and
may be surprised to find that they can find the
Sleeping Beauty, Madame Butterfly or Carmen in
Beijing. The Central Ballet and Opera Theater
is renowned for the quality and talent of its
ballet dancers, its symphony orchestra and Western
opera shows. The China Opera Theater is another
well-known art troupe who puts on Chinese operas
with a mixed singing method of Italian be canto
and traditional Chinese singing.
Unlike other art
forms, modern drama has only a 70-year history
in China. The most famous theater in Beijing is
the People's Art Theater. This theater puts on
plays based on ancient Chinese stories as well
as Chinese adaptations of Western drama. The Experimental
Theater in Mao'er Hutong is also an excellent
place to watch plays. There are now some very
good plays written by Chinese playwrights.
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