China Beijing Opera
|Beijing Opera Pictures|
Beijing Opera is developed from absorbing many other dramatic forms, mostly from the local drama 'Huiban' which was popular in South China during the 18th century. It is a scenic art integrating music, performance, literature, aria, and face-painting. Certain rules are set up and regulations are standardized during many artists' long practice on stage. Different from regional plays, it is stricter on the variety of the workmanship. The combination of virtual and reality - a special technique of expression, keeps it largely free from the restriction of time and space on stage performance. Beijing Opera has had many interesting names since it came into being, such as Jinghuang, Daxi, Pingju, Jingxi.
Four Means of Artistic Presentation
Main Roles in Beijing Opera Performance
Facial Painting (Lianpu)
|Facial painting in Beijing Opera|
Colors of Lianpu are varied with each representing a characteristic. For example, red symbolizes loyalty, such as Guanyu, a great general during Three Kingdoms Period (220-280). Black signifies honesty and frankness, such as Lord Bao, a righteous official during Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), or abruptness and impertinence, such as Likui, an important figure in the famous Chinese ancient novel 'All Men Are Brothers'. White stands for cattiness and cunning, with Caocao as its representative, a famous politician in the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).
Stage Properties (Qimo)
Four Famous Artists
Beijing Opera contains the soul of Chinese national culture. Its unique charm inspires ethos of Chinese people. There is no doubt that it is really the treasure of Chinese culture. If you want to taste the real Beijing Opera, Liyuan Theatre in Beijing will be a good choice for you.
Related Reading: Beijing Opera Theaters, Beijing Travel Guide
Also - what was it like when it first started? Obviously there wasn't as much technology and there are more recent innovations that they wouldn't have had so what was it like when it first started out?
1) What were the original costumes, set, dancing, make-up etc. like?
2) What year and where did it originally start?
3) Who came up with the idea of the Peking Opera? And where did they get their inspiration from?
As for your other questions - i'm not too sure. You said it yourself - there wasn't as much technology and we have a lot more now than we did then. When it started it was a lot more basic and probably wouldn't have been as big. As the casting grew and they were able to incorporate more music and technical aspects into the show and this would have changed the way that the show run. They probably wouldn't have had as good lighting and costuming and all that type of stuff back when the Peking Opera started - after all, it was over 160 years ago!!
4 different performance troupes got together and created this. They probably wanted to make something a bit different. Something that involved many different aspects of performance/theatre and something that blended with ancient Chinese tradition.
Hope this helped!
The white face refers to a fraudulent and guile personality.
The green face means stubbornness, impetuosity and lack of self-restraint.
The black face signifies honesty and frankness.