News & Events

Chinese Traditional Opera - Yue Opera

Yue Opera

Yue Opera

Yue opera, originating in the area of Sheng County in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province in the early period of the 20th century, is a rapidly developing local. It has its origin in part of Yue State in the Spring and Autumn Period dating back about 2,000 years ago.

Known as "Xiaogeban" or "Diduban" (Small Singing Group), the opera was performed first for country folk in its early period of development. At that time, the opera was simple as it had developed from folk story-telling and singing. Later it moved into Hangzhou, Shanghai and other parts of the country. Now, many years of development has made it the most important form of opera next to the Beijing Opera in China, taking its theme from fairy tales, literary classics and historical stories. The voices of Yue opera are soft and beautiful, the words easy to learn. Different voices from various schools were developed which led to the emergence of large numbers of fans devoted to each school. The famous and heart-rending Chinese violin concerto Butterfly's Love drew from Yue opera. A film of the opera has won awards at international film festivals. The male role in a Yue opera play is always played by women and the characters appear exceptionally charming, natural and unrestrained.

Yue Opera as a folk opera style has its origins in Hangzhou. A visitor to Hangzhou strolling along the lakeside in the early morning may hear opera lovers heartily singing. The resident Yue opera companies in Hangzhou are the Zhejiang Yue Opera Troupe and the Hangzhou Yue Opera Troupe. The "Xiaobaihua Performing Group" of the Zhejiang Yue Opera Troupeis best known in Hangzhou and very influential across the country, and in Hong Kong and Macao.

Revised June 13, 2011