Sichuan Opera

sichuan operaSichuan opera or Chuanju is a type of local Chinese opera mainly prevailing in Southwestern China's Sichuan province around 1700. It was originated at the end of the Ming (1368-1644) and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911) when immigrants flooding into Sichuan.During the period of Yongzheng and Qianlong in Qing dynasty, different dramas were brought in, such as Kunqu, Yiyang aria, Bangzi aria and Pihuang aria, blending with the local dialect, customs, folk music and dances. Thus, brisk humorous Sichuan Opera which reflects Sichuan culture was gradually came into being. By the end of Qing dynasty, Sichuan opera was played from temple fairs, halls and yard to urban theaters.

Regionally Chengdu remains to be the main home of Sichuanese opera with other influential locales include Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hubei and Taiwan. The characteristics of Sichuan Opera are unique solos, refined acting, rich percussion, and talented comedians, whose skills are unparalleled in the world. Sichuan Opera is said to have “3000 Tang stories, 800 Song tales and endless Three Kingdom anecdotes”, face changing is the highlight of Sichuan Opera, which is a must to see.

sichuan opera performanceFace changing was inspired by ancient people who painted their faces to drive away wild animals. Thus some painted faces of Sichuan Opera are quite exaggerated. There are three types of face changing: wiping mask, which the actor applies cosmetic paint in a certain position on his face; blowing mask, which works with powder cosmetics, such as gold, silver, and ink powders; pulling mask, which are painted on pieces of damask, well cut, hung with a silk thread, and the lightly pasted to the face one by one, ranking as the most complicated masks of the three. Ideal places of appreciating the Sichuan opera in Chengdu are:

Wu Hou Ci Grand Stage
Sichuan Opera Theater, address: 20 Zhuangyuan Street, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
injiang Stage, address: 54 Huaxingzheng Street, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Shufengyayun Operatic Circle, address: Chengdu Culture Park, 23 Qintai Lu, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

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