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Peking Opera (北京京剧) – UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity – 2010

Peking opera, also known as Beijing opera, is China’s national opera full of Chinese cultural traditions. It is a Chinese stage art that combines performances, acrobatics, music, arias, gongs, drums, facial paintings, literature, and many other features in one. Click the following link and you will get a glimpse of this super art, Peking opera.


Peking opera is sung and recited using primarily Beijing dialect, and its librettos are composed according to a strict set of rules that prize form and rhyme. They tell stories of history, politics, society, and daily life and aspire to inform as they entertain. The music of Peking opera plays a key role in setting the pace of the show, creating a particular atmosphere, shaping the characters, and guiding the progress of the stories. ‘Civilian plays’ emphasize string and wind instruments such as the thin, high-pitched ”jinghu ”and the flute ”dizi, ”while ‘military plays’ feature percussion instruments like the ”bangu ” or ”daluo”. Performance is characterized by a formulaic and symbolic style with actors and actresses following established choreography for movements of hands, eyes, torsos, and feet. Traditionally, stage settings and props are kept to a minimum. Costumes are flamboyant and the exaggerated facial make-up uses concise symbols, colors and patterns to portray characters’ personalities and social identities. Peking opera is transmitted largely through master-student training with trainees learning basic skills through oral instruction, observation and imitation. It is regarded as an expression of the aesthetic ideal of opera in traditional Chinese society and remains a widely recognized element of the country’s cultural heritage. The following video is for you to learn more about China’s national opera, Peking opera.

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