An Introduction to Chinese Opera

An Introduction to Chinese Opera

PEKING OPERA: Movements and Gestures

The actors arrive and begin preparing their make-up before the event begins.
Usually the actors come one or two hours before the show to prepare their make-up and costumes.

The woman prepares the hair.
They use real human hair. She places 2 long strands on her cheeks to adjust the shape of her face. Depending on her natural features, she will adjust her face to . For example, if she has a longer face, she will position the 2 strands so that it looks rounder. , and 7 smaller "curls" as a fringe. First she has to brush it with a special glue made of herbs that wets and smoothens it. The glue only lasts for about three hours so the same hair can be used for years.

Make-up in the Peking-opera is more important than it is in the western plays. The costumes are so colorful that the faces will be obscured without all the make-up.

While they are still preparing say a little about Beijing opera in general.
The Peking opera is the most famous kind of Chinese theatre. Why is that?
Well, in the early days there were hundreds of different kinds of operas in China, but they were only performed for the royal houses. In the 1900's the actors in Beijing were very poor and didn't have a place to rehearse, so they would ask the owners of the tea-houses if they could rehearse there. Of course, they practiced without make-up and costumes, but more and more people would come to watch them rehearse, and this is how the Peking opera became so popular.

The Peking opera hasn't changed since then, and most of its plays have remained exactly the same.

The actors begin developing their skills as children and continue to perfect them for years. It is not like in Western operas, where the singers can play any role according to their pitch, instead each actor is trained for one specific type of character.

There are 4 main type of characters:

This is the male main character, who is either a civilian or in the...

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