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Sichuan Opera

Sichuan Opera
As one of the oldest and most interesting opera forms in Southwestern China, Sichuan Opera is a perfect blend of local dialect along with the customs, folk music, and dances from other regions.

Sichuan Opera features vivid, humorous narration, singing, and acrobatics. It also boasts a system of stylized movements and its acting is both exquisite and lively. Sichuan Opera performances are always full of wit, humor, lively dialogues, and pronounced local flavors. To portray special characters, the opera incorporates a series of stunts, including the famous "face-changing." In Chinese opera, facial makeup is usually painted, but in Sichuan Opera, the performer can change his or her facial makeup in the snap of a finger right on stage.

Founded in the province's capital city of Chengdu in 1912, the Sanqinghui troupe officially combined all five of these systems and fused them into a unique system of acting, singing, and instrumental music, where all of the librettos were written in the Sichuan dialect. The best-known style with most distinct characteristics of southwestern China is called gao qiang, which is distinguished by solos that are usually accompanied by sparse rhythmical accentuations played with wooden clappers.
This highly ornamental vocal style is distinguished by brilliantly artful glissando links, skillfully implemented vibrato embellishments around a single tone in the form of a delicately elegant yet energetically melodic ornamentation. The simplicity of the folk songs' melodic structures is often retained.

Most Sichuan Opera repertoires are adapted from the Chinese classical novels, mythologies, legends, and folk tales. Statistics show that the total number of Sichuan Opera plays exceeds 2,000. Sichuan Opera is noted for its high-pitched tunes, accompanied only by percussion instruments and choruses, without wind or stringed instruments. In addition, this spectacular theatrical presentation features bright sets and costumes, plus a combination of music, dance, and acrobatics. Among China's current 300 local theater traditions, Sichuan Opera has thrived and developed throughout ages as a distinct regional art form.

Its special characteristic -- one that distinguishes Sichuan Opera from other theatrical traditions -- is its immense vitality and dynamic performances that always strive to bring out an individual's artistic abilities into play to ensure fresh material, variety, and creativity. In part due to its intimate connection to a lively treasury of folk songs, Sichuan Opera reveals an extraordinary flexibility and vitality of expression in its music and movements.

The development of Sichuan Opera is intrinsically linked to the natural conditions in Sichuan. The principal agricultural products cultivated in Sichuan's extraordinarily fertile soil include rice, tea, and mulberry trees, whose leaves are used in the traditional industry of raising silkworms. Rustic songs originally sung by boatmen and tea-plantation and rice-paddy workers developed into famous local folk songs, which, in a sense, can be regarded as the precursors of the province's great operatic tradition.

One of the most fascinating, artistic charms of Sichuan Opera is "face-changing," which is achieved by quickly tearing off, rubbing, or blowing away a mask to reveal another.

The performer prepares many special masks in advance made of gauze and elastic materials, such as sheep embryo membranes and rubber. After the masks are painted with different designs and assembled with a special transparent thread, they are pasted onto the performer's face.Spitting Fire is yet another distinctive of Sichuan Opera. It is performed flawlessly in the Legend of White Snake, a key story that is a cornerstone of Sichuan Opera. The skill is hard to master, but when perfected is both entertaining and astonishing.

The special masks for "changing faces" must be made to fit the performer's face to ensure that they are pasted as close as possible to the skin. Previously, the masks were discarded after a performance, but today they can be recycled with some minor repairs.

In addition, an orchestra chorus either comments on or repeats what has already been sung. A solo can also represent the chorus. In the past, members of the chorus also often doubled as percussionists and, like the percussionists, were clad in everyday garments and appeared in full view on stage. Nowadays, they perform in the orchestral area, which is situated along one side of the stage and is concealed from the audience.

Baixi Zhengba
Baixi Zhengba is a wonderful performance, which was derived from a magnificent performance happened in the HanDynasty.
Nowadays it is a performance including many unique skills of Sichuan Opera unique skills of Sichuan Opera and many folk performing arts in Sichuan Province.
Rolling Light
Sichuan Opera, as one of most characteristic Chinese local drama, has a history over four hundred years. It is good at humorous actor’s lines and high literature value. Rolling Light is a unique skill of Sichuan Opera , and it’s also a classic clown play, which tells a story about a wife’s punishment to her husband.
Nao tai
Naotai is a piece of gong and frums music. It contents the best of the Operns of Sichuan Opera , and it is full of Sichuan folk charm and local feature.
Hand-shadow Show
Hand-shadow show is an ancient folk art. It derived shadow show, puppet show , and even the hand performing of Chinese operas.
Stick-puppet show
Puppet show is rooted from, the Han Dynasty (202BC-204DC). Stick-puppet show is a knid of puppet performing, which the puppet and performer are all on the stage. It is specialized at both its exquisite model and difficult performing skills.
Changing Faces . Spitting Fire
Changing Faces is the magic unique skill of Sichuan Opera. It derived from Old West Shu Country and is well known all over the world. During the performance, the performances change their masks in a magic way to show the rapid diversification of the gut and the roles’ innermost being . Spitting Fire is one of unique skills of Sichuan opera. It was performed firstly in Legend of White Snake , a highlight of Sichuan opera. The skill of it is complicated and the fire is diversified and magnificent.

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