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Chinese opera – Yue Opera

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Yue Opera -China’s second-largest opera genre, also known as the second national opera, and also known as “the most widely spread local opera genre” Some people think that it is “the largest local opera-type” is called “Chinese opera” abroad.  It is also one of the five major Chinese opera types ( Beijing Opera, Yue Opera, Huangmei Opera, Ping Opera, Henan Opera in order). It originated in Shengzhou, Zhejiang, originated in Shanghai, prospered throughout the country, and spread throughout the world. In its development, it has absorbed the great achievements of characteristic operas such as Kunqu Opera, drama, and Shao Opera, and has experienced a historical evolution from male Yue Opera to female Yue Opera.
Yue Opera is good at lyricism, mainly singing, with a beautiful voice, real and moving performance, beautiful and elegant, and full of the spirit of Jiangnan; mostly with the theme of “talents and beautiful ladies “, there are many artistic genres, and there are 13 recognized genres. many. Mainly popular in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Fujian, Jiangxi, Anhui, and other southern regions, as well as Beijing, Tianjin, and other northern regions. In its heyday, except for a few provinces and autonomous regions such as Tibet, Guangdong, and Guangxi, there were professional theater companies all over the country. exist.
Yue Opera is the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage list. In 2006, Shanghai Yue Opera Art Institute (Shanghai Yue Opera Theatre) and Shengzhou Yue Opera Art Protection and Inheritance Center obtained the qualification of national intangible cultural heritage Yue Opera project protection unit. In 2008, the Fanghua Yue Opera Troupe of Fujian Province was qualified as a national intangible cultural heritage Yue Opera (Yin Pai) project protection unit.

Origin of the name

“Yue Opera” originated from “Landing Singing Books”, and later it was called “Women’s Science Class”, “Shaoxing Women’s Literary Opera”, “Dedu Class”, “Caotai Class Opera”, “Small Ge Class”, “Shaoxing Drama”, “Shaoxing literary opera”, “Mao’er Xiaoge Class”, “Shaoxing Opera”, “Sheng Opera”, “Yan Opera” and so on. It was called “Yueju Opera” for the first time. On September 17, 1925, the “De Tuban” performed at the Small World Playground was first called “Yue Opera” in the advertisement of “Shen Shen”. Since 1938, most troupes and troupes have been called “Yue Opera”. However, the titles in the various theatrical newspapers are still not uniform, and reporters and contributors often use their own. In 1939, “Ta Kung Pao” reporter Fan Dimin, also the director of Yao Shuijuan’s “Yue Yin Stage”, was inspired by Li Bai’s ” Yue Nv Ci “, and considered that Shaoxing was the revival base where the Yue King Gou Jiansheng gathered lessons and defeated Wu State, and the origin of Yue Opera Disheng County is one of Shaoxing and was touched by the famous Yue Opera actress Yao Shuijuan’s “I want to sing more loudly, sing higher, and sing farther”, so he wrote to the “Drama Newspaper” edited by Ru Boxun The manuscript, published an article on the motivation and meaning of the “Yue Opera”, to the audience. Since then, the advertisements of “Women’s Wenxi” in various newspapers have been renamed “Yueju”, and after the founding of New China, they have been collectively called “Yueju”.
Since Yue Opera used the names of “Shaoxing Opera” and “Shaoxing Wenxi” in the early stage, it was said that Yue Opera was called “Shaoxing Opera”. In fact, it was borrowed from the name “Shaoxing Opera” because it did not have the name of “Yue Opera”. “Yue Opera” is not actually “Shaoxing Opera”.
However, due to misrepresentation, the translation of the name of Shaoxing Opera also included the word “Shaoxing Opera”. However, in a formal expression, the translation of the name of the “Yue Opera” should be “Yue Opera” (also translated as “YueJu Opera”). This title has been widely used in professional Yue Opera books and official documents, and has also been accepted by newspapers and media And use it, and the mistaken translation of “Shaoxing Opera” that day has become history.


The gestation period-landing singing

In 1852 (the second year of Xianfeng in the Qing Dynasty ), Jin Qibing, a farmer in Matang Village, Xixiang, Sheng County, created a “singing book”. “Landing Sangshu” is a popular rap form in the Matang Village of Shengxian County, Zhejiang Province. It began to evolve into a form of opera performed in rural grass terraces. The artists were originally half-agricultural and half-skilled male farmers, so it was called the male class.

Song class

On March 27, 1906, in front of the Xianghuo Hall in Dongwang Village, Shengxian County, four rice buckets were borrowed by floor-to-ceiling singers Yuan Fusheng, Li Maozheng, Gao Binghuo, and Li Shiquan. “Ni Feng Fancha” and the drama “Double Golden Flower” (second half). This was the first audition of Chinese Yue Opera, and Yue Opera (originally called “Little Ge Class”) was born. This day is called the birthday of Yue Opera.
On May 13, 1917, the small song class entered Shanghai for the first time and performed in the “Xinhua Garden” in Shiliupu. Due to the crude and crude art, there were few audiences. Later, 3 classes of artists came to Shanghai but all failed. After learning the performance skills of Shaoxing Taipan and Peking Opera, the art has improved. In 1919, the small singing class began to establish itself in Shanghai.
Since 1920, the small song class has concentrated on more well-known actors to write new plays, such as ” Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai “, ” Jade Hairpin ” and ” Meng Lijun “. These repertoires adapted to the rise of ideas for women’s rights and equality between men and women after the ” May Fourth Movement ” and were welcomed by the audience. After that, Zhou Shengping dance station owner invited Trench folk music organization “play-off class,” the three musicians in the history of opera composition from Shengxian first professional backing band, while playing with 15 two-tone tunings up, follow the Shaoxing Taipan habits, said It is called “Zhengong tune “, or “zheng tune” for short. Since then, “the si xian tune” has become the main tune; and borrowed from the Shaoxing Taipan style, the music framework of the baning body was initially established.

Shaoxing singing plays

On September 16, 1921, a troupe composed of Fei Cuitang and Yan Huaanting performed in the First Theater. On that day, the “Newspaper” advertisement first published the name “Shaoxing singing plays”.
From September 1921 to 1922, the male class artists successively changed the type of play to “Shaoxing Wenxi”, absorbed the performance procedures of Peking Opera and Shaoxing Opera, and developed into the costume drama. The repertoire by Shanghai Peking Opera impact, major and acted even Taiwan this drama, in the “World”, “New World” and other playgrounds as well as restaurants, hotels, small theater. The main actors are niche Wang Yongchun, support Villon, Xiaodan Wei Mei Duo, Bai Yumei, Jinxue Fang, older students horses tide, clown Maa along, Omo Kim Young water and so on.
In July 1923, Wang Jinshui, a businessman from Shengxian County, asked the male artist Jin Rongshui to return to his hometown to set up the first women’s class, which enrolled more than 20 girls under the age of 13. On January 14th of the following year, the female class performed on the Shanghai Shengpingge stage, called “Maoer Xiaoge Class”.

Women’s Yue Opera before Liberation

On September 17, 1925, it was first called “Yueju” in the advertisement of Shanghai “Shenzhen” performance.
From January 1928, female classes flocked to Shanghai. The number increased to 36 in the second half of 1941. Almost all the famous actors of women’s Yue opera are gathered in Shanghai. The newspaper commented that “Shanghai’s women’s Yue opera is all the rage, but recently it has prevailed.” The male class was eventually replaced by the female class because the actors had no successors.
In 1929, Shengxian County established the second women’s class, which was later held.
Since the end of 1931, some actresses such as Wang Xinghua, Chen Miaoxian, Lv Fuzhou, and ” Dongin Stage ” and ” Four Seasons Spring Class ” have come to Shanghai one after another, but they still perform in mixed performances. After the women’s Yue Opera gained a foothold in Shanghai, to adapt to the environment and the needs of the audience, a group of Yue Opera practitioners represented by Yao Shuijuan made changes, which they called “improved Wenxi”. Various theater troupes and clubs compete to write new plays. During the four years from 1928 to 1932, over 400 new repertoires were written and performed with a wide range of themes, styles, and styles. Most of the screenwriters had worked in “civilized dramas”. The repertoires generally adopted the screen system. At that time, the main screenwriters were fenced off. , Wen Zhong, Hu Zhifei, Tao Xian, Liu Tao, etc. The diversification of the content of the repertoire has caused corresponding changes in the form of performance, and there is a trend of learning from brothers. At that time, some Peking Operas of the Shanghai School of Learning, such as Shang Fangchen, played Zhou Xinfang ’s famous play ” Hate of the Late Ming Dynasty “; some Xue Shenqu, such as Shi Yinhua and Tu Xinghua transplanted a suit and cheongsam show ” Thunderstorm “; others studied movies and play, For example, Yao Shuijuan played “The Love of the Old Five of Jiang ” and “The Big Family “, using realistic settings and rickshaws on stage. In terms of operating methods, feudal stereotypes were broken, a management system was implemented, and the front and back offices were in unified control. During this period, the most famous actor Dan Jiao was “Three Flowers, One Juan and One Gui”, namely Shi Yinhua and Zhao Ruihua, Wang Xinghua, Yao Shuijuan  Xiao Dangui, Xiaosheng Tu Xinghua, Zhu Sue, Ma Zhanghua; young actors such as Yuan Xuefen, Yin Guifang, Fan Ruijuan, Fu Quanxiang, Xu Yulan, etc., have all emerged.
Since 1938, most troupes and troupes have been called “Yue Opera”.
In October 1942, Yuan Xuefen took the drama as an example and began to reformat the Dalai Theater. In the past two years, the directors of Yu Yin (Yao Luding), Han Yi, Lan Ming (Liu), Xiao Zhang, Lv Zhong, Nan Wei, Xu Jin, etc. were successively hired, mostly young amateur drama workers. They called the reformed Yue Opera the “new Yue Opera”.
In September 1944, Yin Guifang and Zhu Shuizhao also reformed the Longmen Theater. Since then, Shanghai’s major Yue Opera troupes have all joined the ranks of “New Yue Opera”, and the face of Yue Opera has undergone tremendous changes in just a few years. The reform of Yue opera is first to write new plays, establish a script system, and abolish the act system. Even when performing traditional repertoires, they have been sorted and adapted. The content of the new repertoire has changed a lot from the past. Many directors and main actors attach great importance to the social benefits of the repertoire, advocate a positive and beneficial influence on the audience, and write a large number of anti-feudal, exposing social darkness and promoting patriotic thoughts.
In November 1943, during the performance of ” Fragrance Concubine “, Yuan Xuefen cooperated with the piano master Zhou Baocai to make the 2.5 tuning method more standardized, and thus began to make the ruler tune form many styles. Faster and slower, and later developed various counter-tunes of Banking, which not only improved the structure of the Yue Opera tune, but also enhanced the lyrical and dramatic tunes of the singing, and expanded expressiveness and plasticity.

On January 29, 1945, Yuan Xuefen and Fan Ruijuan performed “The Sad History of Butterfly Lovers ” at the Jiuxing Grand Theater and reorganized the play together with the director. During the performance, Fan Ruijuan collaborated with luthier Zhou Baocai to create “Xianxiaqiang”. Chi Tun Tun and Xia Tun lay the foundation of the Yue Opera genre.

May 1946 snow sound theater company will be Lu Xun’s novel ” blessing ” adapted for ” Xianglin “, which caused the underground Communist Party of China and the whole place emphasis on Shaoxing opera. In September, Zhou Enlai watched the performance of the Xuesheng Opera Troupe in Shanghai and gave instructions and arrangements for the underground organization of the CCP to do a good job in the local opera circles. Chinese Communist Party members Qian Yingyu and Liu Housheng were sent to the Yue opera community to serve as directors. Afterward, progressive people in Shanghai’s literary and artistic circles and the press jointly responded to Yuan Xuefen’s dung throwing incident by gangsters and the ” Ten Sisters of Yue Opera ” ( Yuan Xuefen, Yin Guifang, Xiao Dangui, Fan Ruijuan, Fu Quanxiang, Xu Yulan, Zhu Shuizhao, Zhang Guifeng, Xu Tianhong, Wu Xiaolou) Both the charity performance ” Mountain and River Love ” and the struggle for Xiao Dangui’s grievance were given support.

Development and glory after liberation

Shanghai was liberated in May 1949. On April 12, 1950, Shanghai’s first national theater troupe, the East China Yue Opera Experimental Troupe was established.
On March 24, 1955, the Shanghai Yue Theatre was formally established. The theater has gathered a large number of professional talents in the Yue opera field who have high artistic quality in editing, directing, acting, sound, and beauty. Under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party’s literary and artistic direction of serving the people and socialism and the policy of “letting a hundred flowers bloom, introducing the old and bringing forth the new”, Played an exemplary role in the National Theater. Also, a group of collectively owned theater troupes such as “Fanghua”, “Yunhua”, “Cooperation”, and “Young and Strong” are very active, and have achieved a lot of results in making plays.
In March 1951, the East China Opera Academy was established, and the Zhejiang Yue Opera Troupe was formally established in 1954. During this period, more than 30 professional Yue opera troupes in Shanghai and more than 70 professional Yue Opera troupes in Zhejiang also carried out changes in personnel, operas, and systems to varying degrees.
On June 25, 1950, when the Korean War broke out, Fan Ruijuan proposed that the Shanghai Yue Opera community donate a fighter jet to the Chinese Volunteers to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea. From August 10th to mid-September, a joint charity performance was held at the Popular Theater. Participating in the repertoire are ” Xinghua Village “, “The Sad History of the Two Lovers ” and the traditional opera excerpts. The older generation of Yue Opera artists donated all the 170,000 RMB from the performance to the Air Force Department of the Volunteers, which gave birth to the name “Yue Opera- Lu Xun Fighter”.
On the National Day of 1951, Fan Ruijuan was elected as a member of the All-China Youth Federation in Beijing and was also a special representative of the CPPCC National Committee. When the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference was in session, Chairman Mao Zedong cordially met and talked with Fan Ruijuan. This move by the Shanghai Yue Opera community was praised by the Shanghai Branch of the Shanghai Literature and Art Circle to Resist US Aid Korea.
On April 24, 1953, the Zongzheng Yue Opera Troupe where Xu Yulan and Wang Wenjuan belonged crossed the Yalu River and came to the volunteer army to resist US aggression and aid Korea. He performed condolences in the 64th, 36th, and 34th Army, and assisted in the repatriation of prisoners of war in Panmunjom. Upon completion of the mission is about to return, Kim Il Sung on behalf of the Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee awarded Xu Yulan, three flags in medal Wenjuan Democratic Republic; volunteer headquarters to Xu Yulan, Wang Wenjuan second class once each note.
At the end of 1953, the first color opera art film in New China was filmed. The Yue Opera film ” Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai ” was all the rage and set a box office record in Hong Kong. During the Geneva Conference, this film was used by Zhou Enlai to entertain countries many times. Dignitaries and reporters [28], praised as the ” Romeo and Juliet of the East “, the international public’s doubts about the development of traditional red Chinese culture have been relieved. The world-renowned violin concerto “The Butterfly Lovers” is also derived from the Yue opera singing. The movie ” Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai ” expanded the influence of Yue Opera at home and abroad, and became a popular drama genre.
In May 1960, Xiang Guansen, the composer of the Shanghai Yue Opera Theatre, wrote a draft of “Study on Yue Opera Singing”, which included 6 people including Yuan Xuefen, Fan Ruijuan, Fu Quanxiang, Xu Yulan, Qi Yaxian, Lu Jinhua ( Yin Guifang has been transferred to Fujian but not listed) The characteristics of his singing were analyzed and called “genre”. In April 1962, the manuscript was designated as a “Lecture Notes on Opera Music” by the Department of Opera and Literature at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. Afterward, Zhou Dafeng of Zhejiang Yue Opera Troupe made a more in-depth study and discussion on the singing of 6 people, including Yuan Xuefen, Fan Ruijuan, Fu Quanxiang, Xu Yulan, Yin Guafang, and Qi Yaxian, and wrote a draft of “The Music of Yue Opera School”, mimeographed into a book. Later in 1981, it was published by Zhejiang People’s Publishing House.
In 1962, the film ” Dream of Red Mansions ” produced by Shanghai Haiyan Film Studio and Hong Kong Jinsheng Films Co., Ltd. won 200 million box office around 80 years ago (at the time the ticket price was about 20 cents), and 1.2 billion people watched it. Unprecedented and unprecedented [31]. Since then, the song “A Sister Lin falls from the sky ” has been sung all over the world.
In 1964, Zhejiang’s opera music experts-He Renzhong, Lu Bingrong, Zhou Dafeng, Chen Xianyu, etc., based on the unique singing style of famous Zhejiang actors and clearly distinguished from the “six major schools of Shanghai”, they announced to the public—— There are four major schools of Yue opera for girls in Zhejiang Province: Chen Peiqing School, Mao Peiqing School, Campbell Flower School, Gao Aijuan School, and Zhou Dafeng, the basic male tune in the Zhejiang School of Yue Opera for men and women.
The early 1950s to 1960s was the golden age of Yue opera, and many highly influential artworks were created, such as ” Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai “, “The Story of the West Chamber “, “A Dream of Red Mansions “, and ” Xianglin’s Wife “. We have gained a great reputation, ” love test “, ” Li Wa Biography ” ” chasing fish ” ” Chunhyang ” ” Jade Hairpin,” ” Peacock Flying Southeast ” ” He Wenxiu ” ” color Tower,” ” Golden Bough ” ” blood fingerprint ” ” Lee Soo Young “and other excellent repertoires, among which “Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai”, “Love Detective”, “Chasing Fish”, “Jade Hairpin” and “Dream of Red Mansions” were also filmed into movies, which further popularized Yue Opera. With the development of socialist construction, Yue Opera began to spread from Shanghai to the whole country. By the early 1960s, Yue Opera had spread to more than 20 provinces and cities, and its influence was increasing.

At a low ebb during the Cultural Revolution

In the ” Cultural Revolution ” that began in 1966, Yue opera was severely devastated. A group of famous actors, creators, and management cadres were persecuted, and the performance of Yue Opera was forced to stop.




The revival of Yue Opera after the Cultural Revolution

After the Cultural Revolution, Yue Opera was revived. In 1977, 1978, and 1981, Yue Opera Online successively created and performed ” Loyalty “, ” March Spring Wave “, and ” Lu Xun in Guangzhou ” co-starred by men and women, shaping the image of historical greats such as Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Lu Xun in modern history. The district-level Yue opera troupe, which was forced to disintegrate during the Cultural Revolution, was partially rebuilt and resumed its artistic activities.
At the beginning of the reform and opening up in 1980, the national professional opera circle resumed the award system for the first time. With the transition from the planned economy to the market economy, around 84 years, the Zhejiang Yue opera circle set off a wave of Xiaobaihua. Young Yue opera performers from the Shanghai Yue opera circle appeared on various radio and television. Events such as the competition and the Shanghai Young Actors’ Performance have also come to the fore. Yue Opera critic Li Huikang published an article “Reshaping the Image of Yue Opera in Shanghai” in Shanghai Culture and Art News on March 9, 1990. After this article was published, it has been published in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and even Beijing opera circles and news The world caused an enthusiastic response. “Shanghai Culture and Art News” has set up a special column for this, and successively selected and distributed manuscripts from all over the world for discussion. The Yue opera circles in Shanghai and Zhejiang also jointly held large-scale seminars for this purpose, which played a considerable role in the transfer of new and old Yue opera. An outstanding feature of Yue Opera in the new period of reform and opening-up is more liberated artistic ideas and more open artistic concepts. In the creation and performance, the themes and styles are more diversified, and the second creation is more dedicated to absorbing the achievements of modern art and conducting bold explorations.
On the morning of March 27, 2006, Hangzhou held a commemorative meeting for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Chinese Yue Opera, which officially opened the prelude to the centennial of Yue Opera. The celebration also includes the unveiling ceremony of the Centennial Monument of Yue Opera and the Foundation Laying Ceremony of Zhejiang Xiaobaihua Art Center; the Centennial Summit Forum of Chinese Yue Opera; the entertainment performances of fine repertoires and the performance of some outstanding repertoires; the series of activities of “Hundred Years of Yue Opera · Hometown Tour of Yue Opera”; “Vietnamese Opera Movie Replay” activities; a hundred years of Yue Opera · mass cultural activities, etc. The whole celebration lasted until the “Chinese Yue Opera Festival” held in Shaoxing in October. During the period, Zhejiang Xiaobaihua Yue Opera Troupe and Shaoxing Xiaobaihua Yue Opera Troupe performed classic plays.
On May 20, 2006, Yue Opera was approved by the State Council to be included in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage lists.
On July 24, 2006, the “Vietnamese Women Fighting”-Yue Opera Young Actors TV Challenge, co-sponsored by China Central Television and Shanghai Media Group, kicked off on the Yifu stage in Shanghai. This event is divided into three competitions: Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Shaoxing. District.
On October 2, 2019, during the 2019 Chinese Opera Culture Week, Yue Opera participated in it.
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