When you open this book your first question may well be, "What exactly is Beijing opera?" Actually, the English term "Beijing opera" is somewhat misleading, in that it may cause Western readers to equate this unique Chinese dramatic art form with Western opera. A similar misunderstanding arises when Chinese acrobatics is referred to as "Chinese circus," equating it with Western circuses. Actually, the so-called "Chinese circus," with no animal acts, high wires, or trapeze work, is much more limited than Western circuses, which include all of these as well as acrobatics. Conversely, Beijing opera, which includes Chance, dialogue, and martial arts, as well as music, is much more comprehensive than Western opera, which relies on singing as its primary means of expression. Beijing opera also transcends Chance theater, in which gesture and movement provide the vehicle by which a story is told. And it surpasses traditional theater, which employs spoken dialogue to portray its characters and propel plot development. Beijing opera is a unique type of dramatic narrative, that weaves together music, movement, and dialogue to unfold beautiful and moving stories drawn from Chinese history, biography, folk legend, literature. Its performers must be not only outstanding singers and actors, but also skilled in Chance, acrobatics, and martial arts.
For thousands of years, Chinese society has been profoundly influenced by the thinking of the renowned Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC). The impact of Confucian ideology is apparent in China's politics, law, history, religion, philosophy, and social phenomenon. The extensive Beijing opera canon also clearly reflects the Confucian concern with ethics and morality. "Good and evil will receive their just rewards" is a common Chinese saying, and this outlook is fundamental to Beijing opera. There is no pure tragedy or comedy in Beijing opera. Rather, these two aspects of life are seen as inseparable, with the struggle between good and evil serving as the vehicle which carries each story to its morally unequivocal conclusion.
Beijing opera's appeal lies not only in the richness of its performances, but also in the diversity of its productions. Writers, composers, directors, and actors are all constantly changing. Although the basic stories remains the same, each production is unique in scenario, structure, vocal expression, and acting style. The twenty-six stories introduced in this book have been selected from the two hundred most frequently performed Beijing operas. They are divided into seven categories: stories of moral instruction, tales of loyalty and duty, historical pieces, stories of palace intrigue, legal cases, love stories, and legends about immortals. We hope that reading them will give you insight into both the lives and culture of the Chinese people.
We are making every effort to bring you the best reading experience.
1.excellent in both text and illustrations
2.clean layout and easy operation
3.powerful storage of bookmark helps to record more information
4.Experiencing China series are coming soon
- iPod Touch