A Night at the Opera

M. A. Aldrich

in The Search for a Vanishing Beijing

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9789622097773
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207585 | DOI:
A Night at the Opera

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This chapter considers the Peking Opera. It takes preparation in advance to enjoy a Peking Opera, as it requires concentration that's a few notches above the standard Mel Gibson action thriller. In the nineteenth century, Peking Opera troupes were hard pressed to find rehearsal studios. Some people think of Peking Opera as a never changing element in Chinese culture. There were two influences in the aesthetic of Peking Opera. The first was minimalism and the second was the primacy of suggestion over detail. Until the 1930s, all Peking Opera performers were men on account of Confucian sentiments against women performing in public. Peking Opera drew a distinction between wen and wu. The former tend to be poetic and, truthfully, tougher sledding for a foreign audience. The latter usually entails a dazzling display of acrobatics that can hold the attention of the most devoted Mel Gibson fan.

Keywords: Peking Opera; Chinese culture; aesthetic; wen; wu; Mel Gibson

Chapter.  1660 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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