Beijing opera (Peking opera)
speaking, it is not opera. This art combines singing, acrobatics,
dance, music. It is not exactly from Beijing, also. It originated in the
south of China but became popular after it reached the imperial court
There are people who enjoy the performances. I
personally think that the mewing which occurs on stage (and is supposed
to be called singing), is completely unlistenable. That is, if you
approach it without any prior knowledge to what, in the world, is going
on up there.
What I do enjoy about it is pretty much everything
else, really: the costumes, the heavy make-up, and all the other
prerequisites to a good performance. Everything which occurs on stage
has its significance. For instance, the performers are obliged to walk
in a certain way and if the male character takes one step too many,
this could be a tragedy for the real fan.
Here I offer a list of websites with articles, shedding light on what Peking opera is and what it is which makes it so special:
★ Start off by watching a short video on the UNESCO website, which features parts of performances and general information on the art of Peking opera..
★ Chinavine gives a short introduction. Make sure you check the categories on the left for more on the subject.
★ Chinaculture is a bit difficult to navigate through, so here are links where you find a general introduction; a presentation of
an exhibition where, if you scroll down, you can see a detailed
description with pictures of the different types of characters.
★ Cultural China
combines information from a variety of sources, and this helps form a
somewhat complete picture of Peking opera. Make sure you look at the
related topics at the bottom.