Beijing Opera is one of the most popular Chinese Opera. It is often conducted in some popular theatres inside and outside China. When you have a plan to visit Beijing, the capital city of China, watching this opera from where it is originally from is a must. There are some theatres available for this show including Li Yuan Theater, Zheng Yici, Hu Guang Hui Guan, and Mei Lan Fang.
Enjoy the Beijing Opera from Where It Originally Comes From
1. The History of Beijing Opera
According to some references, the Beijing Opera was born when Emperor Qianlong from Qing or Manchuria Dynasty was reigning. This show was rooted from Huabu, a kind of the more ancient opera from several places in Chinese. When all of those shows were combined at once, it simply attracted the king's empress. At the end of 19th century, this opera was reformed through the assimilation process and it has been the biggest and the most popular opera in Chinese. Interestingly, there have even been many popular actors who contribute to this show.
2. The Roles in the Beijing Opera
In the Beijing Opera, there are mainly 4 main roles; they are Sheng (the male), Dan (the female), Jing (the face-painted male), and Chou (the male comedian). Each of those roles is still divided into other categories. As an example, Sheng consists of the characters of an adult or old man (Laosheng), the character of a young man (Xiaosheng), and the character of the military man who is related to the fight (Wusheng) Similar to the male characters, the Dan or female is also still divided into some other characters. They are the simple and kind woman (Qingyi), the coquettish and cheerful woman (huadan), the female fighter (Daomadan), the female version from Wusheng (Wudan), the old woman (Laodan), and the sexy and sensual woman (Huadan). Aside from acting, singing, and dancing, there are particular styles of the characters of the Beijing Opera. They commonly act in certain gestures that you may never see in other kinds of opera and theatres. Those gestures are caressing the long beard, fixing the hat's position, lifting the legs, and more. Each of the gesture has its own meaning or emotional representation.
3. The Stories in the Beijing Opera
The stories are varied whether it tells about the history, comedy, tragedy, romance, and more. Many of the shows are also the combinations of all of them. Meanwhile, the dialogue and monologue are presented in the Beijing accent. There are some popular stories shown in this opera. They are the Party of Hongmen (Hongmen Yan), the Battle of the Red Cliff (Chibi Zhi Zhan), Beating the Dragon Cloak (Da Long Pao), Breakthrough the Siege (Zou Maicheng), and a Beautiful Drunk (Guifei Zui Jiu). Those stories have political backgrounds but then they are combined with the history, comedy, or tragedy unsure.
How to Get Tickets?
The tickets can be found in the entrance of the related theatre. You should take a look at the schedules of the show at first. Then, if you are interested in the show title or the artists, just go to the theatre or buy it online.
How To Get Around?
All you need to do in watching the opera is just entering the room, sitting down, waiting for the show starts, and enjoying the show.
What Should I Wear?
There is actually no particular dress code in watching the Beijing Opera. It is quite different from the other western or European operas in which you may be required to wear the suits or dresses. Just make sure you feel really comfortable with what you have worn. It is no matter to wear the casual outfits like T-Shirt and pants. What you need to consider is probably for being polite. Yes, it is much better not to wear outfits that are too opened. Moreover, it is basically a traditional show in which the politeness and modesty are still upheld by the local people.
Best Time to Visit
Some theatres in Beijing have a daily show time. One of them is Li Yuan theatre. Then, the show is commonly started in the evening around 7 pm and it lasts for around 1.5 hours. The Beijing is at the peak of tourism in the summer holiday. So, if you want to avoid the crows as well as make sure that the tickets are not running out, going to Beijing in September or October is the best.
Will I Need a Guide?
Yes, it is mainly if you are a foreigner. You may need a translator that can tell you the story that is presented in Chinese. The guide is also beneficial to show you the best theatre as well as the schedule.
How To Get There?
For Li Yuan theatre, you can take a bus no 6 and get off at the Road of Yong'an. Meanwhile, for Zheng Zici Opera Theatre, take a bus no 14, 15, 44, and 48, and stop at the Hepingmen Station. For the Hu Guang Hui Guan Opera theatre, the bus is no 7, 14, 15, and 70 and stops at the Huafeng Road. Lastly, Mei Lan Fang theatre can be reached by subway and you can stop at Beijing West Station.