When we say our DNA is “awakened” by Chinese opera, what do we mean?

BEIJING, Dec. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A news report from China.org.cn on traditional Chinese operas:

In the blink of an eye, a fine-looking girl turned into a handsome young “man,” showing off immaculate martial stunts, eloquent traditional vocals and lively character performance — video clips of this actress Chen Lijun, a female “xiaosheng” (young male character) who starred in the Yueju Opera “New Dragon Gate Inn” went viral.

While her performance was the center of attention on social media, the art of Yueju Opera also caught the eyes of the audience.

Yueju Opera, the second most popular of all traditional Chinese operas, originated from south of the Yangtze River. With its elegant tunes and variable vocal tones, Yueju Opera is naturally lyrical, and the stories usually revolve around romance between talented scholars and young ladies. In a previous episode, we talked about how male actors used to play “danjue,” or female roles in Peking Opera. Yueju Opera, on the contrary, was for a time played by all-female troupes, meaning female actresses like Chen Lijun would play all the male characters in all operas.

Chinese operas stem from folk songs and dances. Throughout its long history, various kinds of operas including Peking Opera, Han Opera, Qinqiang Opera, Hui Opera and Gui Opera came into being, forming a garden of operas in full bloom. Yu Opera, which originated in central China’s Henan region, is one of them. Boasting rich connotations and powerful tones, Yu Opera is praised as the “oriental aria.” Yueju Opera is known for exquisite vocals, which best bring out the characters’ inner world. In 1958, the Yueju Opera version of “Dream of the Red Chamber” debuted in Shanghai, telling a tragic yet beautiful love story of the two protagonists, Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu. Its graceful vocals, resplendent costumes and subtlety of performance have made the production a crowd-pleaser all over China, and it was later performed abroad in Japan, Vietnam, DPR Korea and France.

As many young people in China often say, hearing the melodies of Chinese operas awakens some kind of dormant DNA. What really touch their souls, are probably the intrinsic vibes that transcend the performing arts. Italian opera works like La Traviata and Turandot have moved vast audience from China, and Chinese operas also attracted many fans from other countries. What makes this possible are the common aesthetic values and shared sentiments of humanity beneath the shell of various artistic forms.

China Mosaic

When we say our DNA is “awakened” by Chinese opera, what do we mean?

SOURCE China.org.cn

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/when-we-say-our-dna-is-awakened-by-chinese-opera-what-do-we-mean-302004050.html
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