jingxi


jingxi
or ching-hsi, also called Beijing opera or Peking opera
(Chinese; "opera of the capital")

Traditional Chinese theatre, originally devised in 1790 as part of the Qianlong emperor's birthday celebration.

Highly conventionalized and symbolic, it combines orchestral music, speech, song, dance, and acrobatics. The performers enact dramas based on historical epics, legend, and myth. The characters' roles and social ranks are conveyed through elaborate costumes and stylized makeup. The actor Mei Lanfang brought its influence to the West through his tours of Russia and the U.S. in the 1930s. Jingxi traditionally employed an all-male cast with female impersonators, but in the late 20th century it expanded its scope to admit female actors.

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▪ Chinese theatre
Chinese“opera of the capital”, Wade-Giles romanization  ching-hsi , English  Peking opera 
 popular Chinese theatrical form that developed in the mid-19th century. It incorporated elements of huidiao from Anhui, dandiao from Hubei, and kunqu, the traditional opera that had predominated since the 14th century. Sung in Mandarin, the dialect of Beijing (Peking) and of the traditional elite, the jingxi musical verse plays came to be performed throughout China, although most provinces and many major cities developed their own operatic variants using local dialect.

 Jingxi is highly conventionalized. The attitudes of individual characters are encoded in traditional steps, postures, and arm movements. The actors and actresses wear elaborate face paint to show the characters they play. Acrobatic movements are frequently used to suggest violent action. Accompaniment is provided by a small orchestra of stringed and wind instruments, wooden clappers, and a small drum. Interludes of spoken narration permit singers to rest periodically during the characteristically lengthy performances. Jingxi traditionally employed an all-male cast with female impersonators, but in the late 20th century it expanded its scope to admit female actors. The most renowned jingxi performer was Mei Lanfang, who played mostly female roles; he introduced the art form to an international audience by touring in Japan, the United States, and the Soviet Union.

      Since the 1970s, several jingxi troupes have performed in the West. The acclaimed film Bawang bieji (1993; Farewell My Concubine) features two main characters who are jingxi actors.

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Universalium. 2010.

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