Peking Opera Dramas and Puppet Shows in Beijing Stage Arts

Besides Peking Opera within Beijing there are dramas, Ping Opera, Kun Qu Opera, Bang Zi Opera, Qu Opera, etc. There is such a variety of many arts.

Chang An Da Xi Yuan (Great Chang An Theater), located on Chang An street is one of the main performance locations for Beijing Peking Opera troupe. This is Beijing’s and China’s most famous and important Peking Opera locations. To book this location to perform requires at least six months notice. Every Spring Festival, Beijing Peking Opera troupe will perform a new production and introduce a new opera to the audience.

Drama came to China over one century ago. Until today there is more than one hundred years of history. In Beijing the people are most aware of the Beijing People Art theatre and the newly set up China National Drama theatre.

Beijing has a small theatre called Beijing Ren Yi. Here almost every day there are new dramas and Small Theatre Peking Operas, Small Theatre Traditional Operas and Small Theatre Traditional Kun Opera. Near this small theatre is the Capital Theatre famous for always having Beijing People Art Theatre troupes drama performances.

The Beijing People Art Theatre troupe has over 50 years history and is not only famous in Beijing but across China as a symbol of quality Drama arts. The troupe trains large quantities of excellent directors and actors, but produces lots of famous dramas, not only for China but around the world. The famous playwright Cao Yu’s dramas (Lei Yu, Thunder storm), (Ri Chu, Sunrise), (Beijing Ren, Beijing people) and famous playwrights Lao She dramas (Cha Guan, Tea house), etc are most famous and are always being shown and always very popular.

Ping Ju Opera is a kind of popular traditional opera from North China with over one hundred years history. In Beijing the largest troupe is called China Ping Ju Opera troupe. Ping Ju Operas aria is of a folk style and is popular as it portrays real life situations. In recent years China Ping Ju Opera troupe has re-edited transcriptions of Lao She’s famous novel called Luo Tuo Xiang Zi (A young mans name) to Ping Ju Opera called Xiang Zi (Boy’s name) and Hu Niu (Girl’s name). Another transformed recent novel to Ping Ju Opera is Lu Hung’s novel, Pin Zui Zhang Da Min De Xing Fu Sheng Huo (Zhang Da Min rambling on about his happy life). The two novels transformed into Ping Ju Operas are very popular with the audiences. The Troupe has a large repertoire, including winner of the Universal Praise, Hua Wei Mei (Matchmaking intentions using flowers), Yang San Jie Gao Zhuang (Miss Yang the third child takes court action), etc. China Ping Ju’s large theatre is located in the South part of Beijing and the China Ping Ju Opera troupe uses this as their special performance venue.

When we mention China’s excellent traditional cultural arts, then Kun Qu Opera must be noted. This is one of China’s earlier traditional operas noted before Peking Opera. Its beautiful aria and dancing always makes people elated. During 2001 it was defined by the “United Nations’ Science and Education organisation” as “human eloquence and non substance heritage literature”.

North Kun Qu Theatre is the only one in Beijing for playing this type of opera. There are hundreds of repertoires, such as Mu Dan Ting (Peony rose pavilion), Pi Pa Ji (Reminiscence of the lute), etc. These belong to the troupes rich properties. In 2000 the troupe produced and performed a large type of Kun Qu singing and dancing opera called Gui Fei Dong Du (High ranked imperial concubine goes to the east), this story describes Yang Gui Fei and Japan’s envoy, A Bu Zhong Ma Lu, during the Tang Dynasty and the Japanese’ queens moving story. This is a tribute to the traditional friendship between the two countries. The opera was also repeated during 2001 in Japan to their complementary and welcoming enjoyment.

In China there are a tremendous amount of folk arts including puppet shows.

Puppets include string, stick, cloth bag and human costume. The China Puppet art Troupe’ uses various kinds of puppets during their performances and attract tens of thousands of children. Every holiday the children go to the puppet theatre to appreciate the arts specially made for the children’s enjoyment. When they have seen the performances the children like to buy their own puppets to use at home. China Puppet Troupe portray famous international works for the children’s enjoyment, including; Pinocchio, Mermaid, Monkey, etc. which the children welcome and enjoy.

Beijing stage has another special troupe for children called Beijing Children’s Art Troupe. This is heaven for children and is located within a tree rich area called Qi Se Guang Theatre (Seven Colours). Here the children can see a lot of beautiful performances. A repertoire called men Suan Men Bi Er He Sao Zhou (Door latch and broom) has been performed hundreds of times.

He Bei Bang Zhi is also popular in North China village areas. Beijing He Bei Bang Zhi troupe’s aria is clear and energetic, with mainly the actress having the singing role lamenting these stories. The typical operas include Wang Bao Chuan (Persons Name) and Qing Feng Ting (Prevailing Fresh Wind Pavilion), etc. During 2002 this year they were invited to Greece to perform the operas’ adapted from the ancient Greek tragedies Antigone and Thebes City. These two operas had resounding success and were called a perfect combination between the Chinese traditional arts and ancient Greek tragedies set to Opera style.

Beijing Qu Ju Opera is the youngest of Beijing’s large operas. The Opera comes from Beijing Qu Yi and over the past 50 years the Beijing Qu Ju Opera troupe have produced and performed many operas transcribed from Mr Lao She’s works, such as Cha Guan (Tea House), Long Xu Gou (Dragons Beard path), Si Shi Tong Tang (Four Generations living in the one garden), etc.

China Juggling troupe, is Chinas most famous juggling arts troupe. They produce and perform juggling displays’ that always wins the International Golden prize. They have large performances in the evening called Zhong Hua Hun (Spirit of China). Zhong Hua Hun combines juggling with dancing and singing for a new style, interesting stage show to win the only Golden Prize from the first Chinese Juggling festival.

Beijing Singing and Dancing troupe has a lot of famous singing and dancing artists. In 2001 they produced and performed a large dancing show depicting the story of Qing Tian Hen Hai Yuan Ming Yuan (Story based at the large emperors palace Yuan Ming Yuan). This is a beautiful dancing show with a fulfilment of emotion through the accompanying music of a sad love story.

Han Deng Da Gu is a traditional Qu Yi Chinese Opera. It is one kind of Chinese traditional where the singers keep burning candles in their mouth as they sing. Their mouth must hold the candle but the singer must be clear in the pronunciation.

In Beijing Stage Arts, not only at theatres but at the square, parks and other public places, the people having the same interests gather to produce their own entertainment, singing and dancing or playing musical instruments for the benefit of all.

Along East Chang An Street you can see the famous Peoples Meeting Hall. Every year, Beijing Symphony Orchestra performs the large New Year Concert with musical and singing and dancing shows.

At the front of the Peoples Meeting Hall is the grand Zhong Shan Park. Located in the beautiful garden is the modern constructed Zhong Shan Park concert hall. Here the famous Beijing Symphony Orchestra will every year devote legendary concerts to their audience.

Near to and echoing the Zhong Shan park concert hall, is the China National Large theatre hall, still under construction, to be completed in the near future, will have first quality facilities to assist the best quality shows for the people.

In Beijing every year there is not only Beijing City performers but also international companies taking part in the international cultural exchange.

As the human being steps into the twenty first century, Beijing Stage Arts will also fly to the world stage to let people know and understand Beijing and China. Beijing will open their hearts and demonstrate their hospitality to welcome the international artists to Beijing. Beijing’s stage will be housed by the rainbow of new beginnings for our spiritual exchanges.

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