Shaoxing Opera

Shaoxing Opera is a relatively new local Chinese opera popular in the southern regions of the Yangtze River. It originated in Shenxian County. Zhejiang Province. which belonged to the Yue State in ancient times. so it was popularly known as Yue Opera. Yue Opera has a history of about 80 years. It was derived from a kind of story-singing. At first. it was performed with a small drum and hardwood clappers for rhythm .and later choral and orchestral accompaniment was added. It drew some musical elements from Shao Opera and subsequently formed its own characteristics. Yue Opera is noted for its lyricism. and singing is dominant in it. Its tunes are sweet and beautiful and the performance vivid and full of local color. Originally Yue Opera was only performed by males and then changed to all female performances. After 1949. male and females work together. Yuan Xuefen is the best known actress. With the entry of television and movies into family entertainment in the lives of people in Zhejiang Province and neighboring cities and provinces. performances for Yue Opera are in decrease. Besides. Yue Opera is sung in local dialect and may not be understood by people from other parts of the country. And therefore it remains a local opera. But it is very popular in the countryside. especially during festivals such as Spring Festival. Open-air performances are commonplace with crowds gathering in a large square. sitting or standing. watching and listening to the actors and actress. Every play of Yue Opera is divided into several acts. each of which depict an inseparable part of the whole story. The ending is usually a happy one.