Peking Opera: History Development During Cultural Revolution in China

Introduction to Peking Opera: History Development During Cultural Revolution in China

Beijing Opera, also called Peking Opera. The article draws on several sources, including: primary sources, secondary sources by noted scholars, video tapes, personal interviews conducted by the author [Albert Liu (Taipei), an opera performer; Professor Chen Chao (Shanghai), a Cultural Revolution survivor; Chen Chao Hong (Shanghai), a retired opera performer], photographs and slides taken by the author, Beijing opera recordings, and Beijing operas attended by the author in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China (1994) and Taipei, Republic of China (1995).


The Introduction & Origins of Beijing Opera reviews the early historical development of jing ju and Chinese opera in general. This section discusses Beijing opera’s roots in Song, Dance, Acting, and Face Painting, as well as Foreign, Imperial, and Yuan dynasty influences.

The Tradition of Beijing Opera provides an overview of the art, including: Early performances, Morals Teaching, Types of Plays, Set and Props, Music, Performers and Their Roles, Mei Lan-Fang, Movement, Costumes, and Face Painting.

Mao Zedong, Art, and the Cultural Revolution examines the role and ideology of Mao Zedong as leader of the Chinese Communist Party and originator of the Cultural Revolution. This section discusses the political influence Mao Zedong exerted over art and literature as early as 1930, the Marxist-Lenin basis of Mao’s theories, and Mao’s speech of 1942, “Talks at the Yenan Forum on Art and Literature.”

Jiang Qing, Beijing Opera, and Party Policy discusses the many policies developed and enforced by Jiang Qing and the Gang of Four during the Cultural Revolution. This section covers the general theories Jiang Qing applied to Beijing opera policy development, as well as specific changes made to Music, Movement, Characters, Education of Performers, and “Model Operas.” This section also examines the impact the Festival on Modern Themes in Beijing Opera and the East China Drama Learning Festival had on political policy of the Cultural Revolution.

End of the ‘Lost Decade’ and Beijing Opera Today discusses the end of the Cultural Revolution, the state of Beijing opera after the Cultural Revolution, and Beijing opera in China today.

Introduction to Peking Opera: History Development During Cultural Revolution in China

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