Eugenio Barba

in The Soul of Beijing Opera

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9789622099944
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207394 | DOI:

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This chapter discusses the process of jingju's formation that generated its unbounded capacity to accommodate different styles of dialect, song, music, and acting convention. It elucidates jingju's dynamic relationship with the stage, audiences, patrons, and social reality in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It describes that unlike its counterpart in the West, indigenous Chinese drama never separated itself from the song and dance that were the origins of virtually every theatre in the world. It notes that in 1785, before the development of jingju, a commentator divided the existing music/theatre into two categories: the “elegant section” (yabu), the orthodox theatre supported by the Qing court; and the “flowery section” (huabu), the vulgar theatre popular among commoners. It observes that during the next hundred years, the competition between these rival theatres saw the flowery section win over the court and the educated class, leading to the success of the new genre: jingju.

Keywords: jingju; Chinese drama; huabu; yabu

Chapter.  18660 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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