Late Qing Institutions of Peking Opera

Joshua Goldstein

in Drama Kings

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780520247529
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932791 | DOI:
Late Qing Institutions of Peking Opera

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This chapter describes the basic institutions of the Peking opera in the nineteenth century. It introduces a variety of economic and social institutions—Qing court patronage, commercial acting troupes, schools for actors, and commercial theater networks—to demonstrate how the Peking opera, from the moment it coalesced as a recognized dramatic form, was as much enmeshed in the social and political structures of the Qing imperial metropole as it was in a network of touring and commercial expansion. These developments were made possible through technologies, such as steamships, railroads, and newspapers, that point to the importance of the context of colonial modernity. In this highly commercialized and prestigious convergence between Qing imperial and colonial modern networks, the social dynamics of gender performance played a central role in the Peking opera's ascendance: the dominating presence of the laosheng actor was crucial to the form's social and cultural elevation.

Keywords: Peking opera; Qing court patronage; commercial acting troupes; commercial theater networks; laosheng

Chapter.  16240 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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