Chinese Culture: Huangmei Opera (黄梅戏)
Originated from tea picking songs in Huangmei County, Hubei Province, finally formed and popular in Anhui Province, Huangmei Opera (黄梅戏 huángméixì ) is one of the Five Operas in China together with Peking Opera, Shaoxing Opera, Pingju Opera and Yuju (Henan) Opera. Today, I will introduce the Huangmei Opera.
Combined tea picking songs with other ancient local operas, Huangmei Opera was spread to Anqing City, Anhui Province by victims of floods and famines from Hubei Province. Adapted with elements of Anhui Opera and local songs and dances, Huangmei Opera developed to present form in Anqing language to portray the life of ordinary people with full-bodied living atmosphere in fresh style that make it loved by the masses.
As a matter of fact, Huangmei Opera wasn’t recognized by people over the country till the founding of the People’s Republic of China. With the encouragement of the government, Huangmei Opera got a great development in late 1950s as the performance of the play Tian Xian Pei (天仙配 tiān xiān pèi) in Capital’s Theater as well as the finish of its film. Both the play and the film won a universal praise that Huangmei Opera became a household name and spread to dozens of foreign countries.
Even today, almost every Chinese can hum the classical song in the film, the Couple Back Home Together. The actress Yan Fengying (袁凤瑛 Yuán Fèngyīng), performed as the fairy princess in the film, was a renowned Huangmei Opera master that made great contributions to promote the opera.
Huangmei Opera is vitality with constant creations and trys. Except the traditional life stories and fairy tales, some classical foreign plays also performed in Huangmei Opera in later modern development, for instance, the adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing of Shakespeare, was a great success that gained praises home and abroad.
This is the Chinese Huangmei Opera.