进入电脑版 时间：2016-09-09 09:00:55 来源： 浙江文化信息网
Regional Operas: Remembrance of Yesteryears
The theater circles in China have this consensus: half of the Chinese theater history is about regional operas in Zhejiang. The consensus testifies to the important role Zhejiang played in the development of Chinese theater.
Yueju Opera represents the finest of province’s theater tradition. Though it is just over 100 years old, its national and international appeal is second only to Peking Opera and it is acclaimed as Chinese Opera in foreign media. The genre started in rural villages in Shengzhou and matured and thrived in Shanghai. It now enjoys its fame at home and abroad. In its growing years, it integrated best elements from Kunqu Opera, modern drama, Shaoju Opera. Yueju Opera oozes an aura of elegance and displays aesthetics redolent of the beauty of Jiangnan. Since the 1950s, Yueju Opera troupes from Zhejiang have been staging shows overseas.
Theater thrived in Zhejiang in the Northern Song and the Southern Song. Hangzhou served as the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1127 to 1279. During this period of time, troupes that had followed the royal house to the south performed northern-style Zaju plays in Hangzhou. It was around the same time that South Opera emerged as the first complete and mature genre in Wenzhou in southeastern Zhejiang. Though the opera was known to different people in different names in different times, the plays told a complete story and performers danced, sang, spoke poetic lines, and followed a full set of standardized moves and gestures.
In the Yuan Dynasty, four prominent plays of South Opera emerged in Zhejiang. The Legendary of Pipa, written by Gao Ming, is considered the very landmark of South Opera and the prototype that engendered all the plays in regional operas across the country in following centuries.
In the history of Chinese theater, few plays of Kunqu Opera have made their way into the repertoire of Peking Opera. The Palace of Eternal Life, a Kunqu Opera play by Hong Sheng (1645-1704), a native of Hangzhou and famous playwright and poet, got itself established firmly in the Peking Opera repertoire. The masterpiece was written and revised several times in more than 10 years before it was finalized. For its prominent merits and strengths, it is considered as one of the world’s major dramas.
There emerged four major systems of theater tunes in the Ming Dynasty. Haiyan Tune and Yuyao Tune were Zhejiang local genres. In the decades that spanned the Ming and the Qing, a variety of theater tunes evolved in Zhejiang and gradually they grew into regional operas as they are known to us today. A variety of puppet shows also emerged and evolved in Zhejiang during the same time.
The history of theater in Zhejiang is actually about economy, life, and culture. Many regional drama genres have been struggling and some have vanished due to the impact of the modern way of life and influences from the outside world. These regional operas and theater performances are actually about today and tomorrow, about the culture of Zhejiang. If they were gone, part of us would be lost forever. Zhejiang has put traditional operas on the list of cultural heritage in a bid to save them for the future. They are the cultural legacy we get from our ancestors and we carry on and give to future generations.
Zhejiang has been conducting an overall project to protect, develop and boost the traditional theater genres. A set of measures are taken to salvage regional operas on the verge of extinction, designate a batch of places as homes of traditional operas, confirm legacy bases, support selected troupes and support plays, cultivate star artists, design and launch important events, and boost brands. Active measures are also taken to give financial and policy support to key troupes at the national and provincial level, support grassroots and private troupes and artists, cultivate markets and young theatergoers, promote general education on theater in primary and middle schools, and promote traditional operas in higher education institutions.
Saving our regional operas means preserving all the important cultural aspects of these operas so that we and future generations will know each regional opera’s history, repertoire, key artists, characteristics of performance, artistic style, and the value the plays conveys and disseminate.