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Mistakes I Made Watching Peking Opera Show

I have never seen a Peking Opera show before, but on my first time visit to Beijing I decided to give the show a try to see why it is so attractive and mystic. Lots of my friends who have seen the show recommended to me. However, as I know so little about the Peking Opera, I made a few mistakes about the show.

Peking Opera Show

Mistake 1: I assumed Peking Opera was new art form in China
I first thought the Peking Opera was nothing but new art form and caught on in China and the world just over the last few decades. But I was wrong about it. Later I found out that the dramatic art form also known as Beijing Opera has been a staple of Chinese traditional arts for more than two centuries. It gradually came into being in 1790, when the Four Great Anhui Troupes went to Beijing to perform for the Imperial Court. And though it was called the Beijing Opera, it was founded based on many other local operas in China. Later, as well-known opera troupes from Hubei performed with the Anhui performers, the art form was gradually formed. The Beijing Opera was founded after mixing the Hubei and Anhui opera style with two primary melodies adapted from the Shanxi musical tradition: Xipi and Erhuang. Afterwards the Beijing dialect was added into the opera. Today, Beijing Opera is considered China's national art form.

Mistake 2: I thought the opera was part of acrobatic show
At first I thought the Beijing Opera was merely part of the Chinese acrobatic show. As it turned out, they have little in common. Beijing Opera has its own convoluted plots, vivid makeup, beautiful costumes and sets, and the unique vocal style used by performers. The Beijing Opera focuses more on the vocal performances instead of the bodily movements and balance. And the plots are all adapted from political and military strife, rather than romance. The basic stories date back to hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Un like the acrobatics performers, the performer of Beijing Opera all dress as historic emperors and officials, generals, and even supernatural beings such as gods. And it takes lots of imagination to understand the plot and story of the performance. There is broad use of acrobatics in the Beijing Opera performance but the opera is not all about the acrobatics.

Anyway, after the Beijing Opera show, I got a better understanding of the art form and Chinese culture.