Updated：2008-06-04 14:53 | Source：
Originally a form of local theatre, it spread all over the country and has become the national opera of China. About 200 years ago, the Qing Emperor Qianlong toured in southern China and developed an interest in the local operas. On his 80th birthday, he had local opera troupes to come to Beijing to perform for him. Some remained in Beijing after the celebration. The ones from Anhui and Hubei were incorporated the palace opera -Kunqu Opera- and became the Peking Opera.
Peking Opera combines stylized acting with singing, dancing, musical dialogue, martial arts, colorful facial make up and fantastic costumes. Female roles are called dan, male roles are sheng, clowns are chou. Each role, according to their sex, age and disposition, is characterized by different designs of facial make-up, such as jing representing a rough, frank character and hua lian representing a cruel or sinister character. So the audience can easily tell what kind of characters the actors are portraying. Facial make-up, costumes and head - dresses are wonderful works of traditional art.
In the past, both dan and sheng roles were played by male actors, but now they are played separately by females and males.
It is a must to see a Peking Opera while you are in Beijing, equivalent to seeing an opera if you go to Italy.
There are also some other types of operas staged in Beijing, such as Kunqu Opera, Pingju Opera and Hebei Bangzi as well as other operas from different places.
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