The Forefather of Chinese Opera - Qinqiang

2009-06-25 20:19 BJT

Also dubbed Luantan, Qinqiang Opera is a local Chinese opera that mainly thrives in north China’s Shaanxi Province, as well as its neighboring regions in Northwest China, like Gansu and Qinghai provinces and the Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions.

It is said that the opera was called "the Emperor Qin Shihuang 's Opera" during the Tang period and was later renamed Qinqiang Opera, which boasts the most ancient, affluent, and largest musical system of all Chinese operas.

The opera first originated from local folk songs and dance forms in the Yellow River Valley of Shaanxi and Gansu provinces -- the birthplaces of Chinese culture. As an opera art form, Qinqiang evolved in ancient China's political, economic, and cultural center - Chang'an -- with the persistent efforts of the local people over generations.

According to historical records, the opera "first appeared in the Qin Dynasty (221-206BC), experienced great refinement in the Han Dynasty, flourished in the Tang, was integrated as an opera form in the Yuan Dynasty, matured in the Ming Dynasty and became widespread in the Qing Dynasty ". Its time-honored history has endowed Qinqiang with a reputation as "the forefather of Chinese operas."

Its repertoires usually feature such themes as anti-aggression wars, the fight between the loyal and the treacherous, and the struggles against oppression, as well as a number of other topics of strong human interest that reflect the honest, diligent, brave, and upright characteristics of the local people. The number of the Qinqiang works at one time topped 10,000, ranking first on the list of more than 300 local operas in China. But only about 4,700 works remain today.

Qinqiang is also one of the earliest operatic musical systems to reflect the emotions of human beings. Equipped with a set of performing skills created by the artists, Qinqiang has greatly influenced other operatic forms. During the Qing Dynasty, Qinqiang Opera entered Beijing and directly affected the formation of Peking Opera. Qinqiang Opera thrived during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) when Qinqiang troupes were disseminated throughout the country; in North China's city of Xi'an alone there were 36 Qinqiang troupes.

Editor: Zhao Yanchen | Source: