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Cantonese Opera

Cantonese Opera is one of the major local operas originated in Guangdong, and it is poluplar in Canton and part of Guangxi, Hongkong and Macau areas, also popular among overseas Chinese in some areas of Southeast Asia and throughout the world.

Cantonese Opera, has a long history which can be dated back to the southern Song dynasty (AD 1179-1276), but many well-known operas performed today are from the Yuan dynasty (AD 1280-1368). For example, operas like "The Purple Hairpin" and "Rejuvenation of the Red Plum Flower" originally come from Yuan dynasty opera librettos. Cantonese opera was originally sung in official language of Tang dynasty similar to present dialect spoken in Canton and FuJian.

Cantonese Opera in Guangdong came into being on the basis of local aboriginal theatre combined with vocal melody from other regions and folk singing and storytelling skills. Present day Cantonese opera centers on Bangzi and Erhuang tunes (Two of major Chinese opera tunes) supplemented with local Ballads and rich varieties of local vocal system.

There are three major vocal tunes in Cantonese opera: Pinghou, Dahou and Zihou. Six major roles: Wenwusheng (man of both letters and martial arts), Xiaosheng (Personated young man), Wu sheng (cavalier), Chousheng (clown), Zhengyinhuadan (female characters) and Erbanghuadan (young woman). Five most influential schools: the Xue Juexian, the Ma Shizeng, the Liao Xiahuai, the Gui Mingyang, and the Bai Jurong as well as Hong Xiannu and Luo Jiabao.

Cantonese Opera has experienced several development phases, which are theatrical troupe of out-province, local troupe, mixed troupe, voluntary troupe and Guangdong and Hong King troupe. Finally the Cantonese Opera was transformed into the present style after ages of development.

Famous Cantonese Opera repertoire includes 'The Legend of White Snake', 'Hu bugui', 'Dinuha', 'Soushuyuan', 'Vicissitudes of the Country', and 'Returning Home on a Snowy Night'. Guangdong provincial and Guangzhou Municipal Cantonese Opera Houses enjoy highest reputation in this field. Once praised by late Premier Zhou Enlai as the 'Red pea of Southern China', Cantonese opera keeps its attraction in the new historical period.,,
Author/Editor By : HCT