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Chinese opera - Pingju opera

Pingju opera, circulated in northern China, is one of the traditional opera genres of the Han nationality. It is one of the most popular opera genres among the people and ranks among the five major Chinese opera genres. There was a view that it was the second-largest drama in China. In the late Qing Dynasty ditty “counterpart Luna County in Hebei area lotus fall to form a” basis, first popular in the rural areas of Hebei, after entering Tangshan, called “Tangshan Zi.” Pingju is divided into East Road and West Road, and Pingju is mainly based on East Road.
It was popular in the Northeast in the 1920s, and a group of actresses appeared. After the 1930s, Pingju performances became more and more mature under the influence of Peking Opera, Hebei Bangzi, and other operas. Genres such as Li Jinshan, Liu Cuixia, Bai Yushuang, Xi Caelian, and Ailian Jun appeared. After 1950, plays such as ” Little Son-in-law “, ” Liu Qiaoer “, ” Flower as a Matchmaker “, ” Sister Yang Sued “, ” Qin Xianglian ” and other repertoires have had a great influence throughout the country. Famous actors such as Xin Fengxia, Xiao Bai Yushuang, Wei Rongyuan appeared. Pingju is still popular in North China and Northeast China.
On May 20, 2006, Pingju was included in the first batch of the national intangible cultural heritage list approved by the State Council.
In December 2018, the General Office of the Ministry of Education announced that Tangshan Teachers College was a base for the inheritance of the Chinese excellent traditional culture of Pingju.
On October 2, 2019, Pingju participated in the 2019 Chinese Opera Culture Week.
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Origin of the name

Pingju is often called “Bengbeng Opera” or “Laozi Opera”, and is also called “Pingqiang Bangzi Opera”, “Luozi of Tangshan”, “Fengtian Luozi”, “Ping Opera”, and “Ping Opera”. “The name is famous throughout the country.  The origin of the name “Pingju” is not uniform. One theory is that the name was given by the famous early actress Li Jinshan. Another way of saying this is that the name came from Li Dazhao. When Pingu, a small drama genre at that time, first entered the urban stage, it was called “Ping Opera” as well as the national drama Peking Opera, which aroused the envy of the Peking Opera cast members, and they provoked martial arts actors to make trouble. Later, Li Dazhao, who worked in the newspaper industry, came forward to mediate. He came up with an idea and added a “yan” to the word “ping” in Pingju. He said that Peking Opera is a national drama, and it is called Ping Opera on behalf of Beiping; Pingju is a small folk opera that reflects social reality quickly, has a simple form of singing, and is easy to understand. Adding the word “ping” with the word “you” is a ” “Comment”, which means commenting on society, storytelling, and rap.
There is also a view that when Cheng Zhaocai and others evolved the Lotus Luo into a “Luo Zi in Tangshan”, they absorbed the full set of musical instruments of Hebei Bangzi, and they named this new drama “Jingdong No. 1 Pingqiang Bangzi Opera”, or “Ping Opera” for short. , Use your own voice when singing. The representative actors at that time included Yue Mingzhu and Jin Kaifeng. After the Revolution of 1911, Beijing changed its name to Peking, and Peking Opera was subsequently called Ping Opera. The “Ping Opera” headed by Cheng Zhaocai has developed to Tianjin and other places at this time, and it is in opposition to the Ping Opera renamed Peking Opera. So it was named Pingju, which means “comment on the ancient and modern”.
There is also a view that when the Bengbeng Opera was performed in Shanghai in 1935 because the repertoires were mostly new ideas of “punishing the evil and promoting the good” and “commenting the past and discussing the present”, it was renamed “Pingju” with the suggestion of the famous star Lu Haitian. In 1936, when Bai Yushuang filmed the film ” Begonia Red ” in Shanghai, the press published the name “Pingju” for the first time in ” Ta Kung Pao “. Since then, the name of Pingju has been widely spread throughout the country.


Early development

Pingju is one of the most influential local dramas in China. As early as the end of the 19th century, poor farmers in Tangshan, Hebei, made a living by singing lotus flowers during the slack in farming. Professional lotus artists gradually appeared around 1890. Lianhualuo, also known as “Laozi”, is a long-term popular rap art among the folks. Pingu was developed based on Lianhualuo. Later, the northeast folk song and dance “Beng Beng” spread into the pass, so the Lianhua Luo artists in Hebei quickly absorbed this art, and began to sing such as “Wang Erxiao Catch Foot”, ” Wang Erjie Sifu “, “Yang Ershe Alms ” “Aunt Wang saw a big jar”, “Clove Cut Meat”, ” Anjan Gives Rice ” and other repertoires, which are deeply loved by local farmers.


These artists then moved from the countryside to the industrial city of Tangshan: Tangshan workers, especially coal and steelworkers, became enthusiastic audiences and active supporters of the drama in the early days. However, it was formed into a more complete opera art before and after the Revolution of 1911. Then existing civilized drama and drama on stage, they have their own playwright, at the same time, the progress of democratic ideas had spread to the literary circle, which prompted this new opera Peking Opera also produced the first generation of playwrights into a trillion Just wait.
The Cheng family was originally an artist of Lianhualuo. He was influenced by the new era of thought and possessed a spirit of innovation and creativity in art. So he transformed Lianhualuo into Bengbeng Opera and from Bengbeng Opera to Pingju. Its early repertoire of “horse widow shop” “Mom opened Bang”, “flowers for the media” “Mai Youlang exclusive courtesan” and so on, are the cornerstone of the Peking Opera show. This playwright is very sensitive to the changes of the times. He absorbed the performance techniques of civilized dramas and compiled several fashion dramas that reflect real life that is very popular among the masses, such as “Shoot the Little Mom”, “Black Cat Sue”, “A Junggen “Assassination of Ito Bowen” and so on, especially the ” Sister Yang’s Complaint ” written in 1919, is the most famous. It has been performed for a long time and has become one of the representative plays of Pingju.
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Donglu Pingju

The development process of Donglu Pingju can be roughly divided into five stages.

1. The counterpart lotus fall stage

After Jiaqing in the Qing Dynasty (1796-1820), the lotus flowers that were popular in the rural areas of Dongguan County, Baodi, Qian’an, Sanhe, and other places have developed into the form of colorful dress (counterpart lotus flowers). Local farmers often organize to sing during festivals or when they go to the market, go to temples, and sell needles and noodles. There are two forms: “single-board” and “matching”. “Single board” is one person playing bamboo boards (five bamboo boards in one hand, seven bamboo boards in the other hand), one tune, back and forth repeatedly. Usually, it is a short section, sometimes it is a story, such as “Yang Ershe Alms”. The “counterpart” means colorful costumes, which are sung by two people, divided into upper and lower costumes (also called upper and lower strings). The top dress is denier, half of the head is wrapped, the back of the head is fake braids, holding a handkerchief or fan; the bottom dress is ugly (mostly the protagonist), with the dance master whip (mainly flower whip, but also bamboo board). Both upper and lower outfits are played by men. In addition to accompaniment, strings, flutes, gongs, drums, etc. are sometimes used for accompaniment, or “one frame” (also called “double-span”) is used. That is, one person, hits all the gongs, drums, cymbals, etc. on the rack. The performer plays several roles at the same time, talking and singing, singing and dancing, and sometimes one or several helpers. At that time, people called this kind of artistic activity “double toys”, “Laozi”, and “singing lanterns”. It is also called “what is not idle” because it always has to perform a section of “what is not idle” before the performance. The repertoires are mostly folk tales, such as “Sifu” and “Ten Embroidered Door Curtain”, but there are also a few whole stories, such as “Yang Ershe Almsgiving”, ” Little Borrowing Year “, ” Little Guxian “, “West Chamber”, “Falling Mirror Frame”, etc…
Around the 7th year of Guangxu (1881), the construction of railways and factories, and mines by the Kaiping Mining Bureau of Tangshan District appeared one after another. Lianhualuo began to enter townships and wharves to sell art and established banquets. Around the seventeenth year of Guangxu (1891), the two from the northeast transferred to the pass. The first to enter the pass was Wang Rong in Jinzhou, followed by Dawan Congee (Zhou), Liang Benjie, and his wife. They joined the Lianhua Laoban Club to perform together. At this time, there are more than a dozen lotus clubs in Jidong, such as the Cui Ba class of Letting, with actors such as Zhang Lai, Zhang Gen, and Shi Feng; the rich Meng Guangwu class, with actors such as Dong Fa Hong and Dong Fa Bai; Luan County Wei Zi of Zhao class, actor east red, shiny East, East whitish; Luan County Zhuang Zi Wei Zhao classes, actors have to Zhaocai, cabbage, mountain crows, Buddha tempted, Wang Rong Wait. Also, there is Yang Fabian from the three provinces of Northeast China; Wang Dabaozi from the third girl and Li Shun; and the big bowl congee class from Liang Benjie and his wife. With the establishment of the class club, Lianhua Luo has developed from a scattered performance of three or five people to an organized professional performance of eight or nine people. The form of performances has also become richer and diverse. Each performance requires four drummers to “report the four happiness” (also useful for “one frame” to sing “What is not free”), then sing the lotus flower, and finally the counterpart lotus flower to the finale. The performance has been divided into “appearance” and “entry”. The main actors of this period are Jin Chrysanthemum (Du Zhiyi ), Yang Liuqing ( Yu Yong ), and Pomegranate Flower ( Liu Yongtai))Wait. In the middle of the Qing Dynasty, martial arts were popular in the Jidong area, and the lotus fall was also affected by it, resulting in martial arts. By the end of the Qing Dynasty, many people in Xiwu participated in the “running shed” of the counterpart lotus drop. Before each performance, there is a “handle style”, which emphasizes hard work and uses real knives and guns to create martial arts such as “scythe,” “hoe,” and “shovel”.
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2. “Take-out” stage

Due to the influence of the Northeast Erren Zhuan, the counterpart Lianhualuo, in particular, has accepted its performance form of ” pulling scenes “. The “counterpart” singing and white are separated, the story is divided into sessions, and the original third-person narration is changed to the first person. The performance is called “tear-out”. In terms of music, he also absorbed the singing of Errenzhuan. The speaker brand, text Ahem, Wu Ahem, so that the tail is shortened, the line chamber slow. In terms of musical instruments, the big strings, flutes, suona, gongs and drums, and clappers of Hebei Bangzi have been added, but the gongs and drums have not changed, and the bamboo boards are still preserved. The repertoire during the dismantling period was mainly from singers and children’s book repertoires, and the performances of “Little Gu Xian”, ” Lending Daughter’s Filial Piety “, “Blue Bridge Meeting” and “Liu Jinding Star Watching” were dismantled and sung, thus pushing the counterpart lotus to the opera side. development of.
In the 20th year of Guangxu (1894), eight or nine classes including The, Qingshan, and Yishun first entered Tianjin. In the 27th year, Cheng Zhaocai, Buddha Tingxin, and Dong Falling entered Tianjin with “counterpart” and “dismantling” repertoires such as “Little Guxian” and “Little Borrowing Year”. But soon, the Tianjin authorities expelled all these clubs with a ban of “indecent, forever banning”, and the artists were forced to return to their hometowns. In addition to the warlords’ melee, there were two ” national funerals ” (Guangxu and Empress Cixi died), The ringing device is prohibited, most of the Lianhua Laoban Club disintegrated, and the dismantling is over.

3. Tangshan Luozi (Pingqiang Bangzi Opera) stage

In 1908, Cheng Zhaocai, Zhang Huawen, Jin Juhua, and others reorganized the club, took the lotus flower to “Opening a Shop”, dismantled the play ” Oolongyuan ” and “Ghost Pulling Legs”, broke into the “Beijing Forbidden Land”, and once sang popular. From then on it was named “Pingqiang Bangzi Opera”. In 1909, Yue Mingzhu (Ren Shanfeng) replaced Jin Chrysanthemum and became the protagonist of the Pingqiang Bangzi Opera. Together with Cheng Zhaocai and Zhang Huawen, he formed another Qingchun club and entered Tangshan twice. At that time, Tangshan was the political, economic, and cultural center of East Hebei, and Peking Opera and Bangzi had great status in the theater industry. First arrived in Tangshan flat cavity Clapper Opera artist, had to learn a few Hebei Clapper Opera, such as “kill the Temple,” ” military family slope ” ” Mulberry will “to gain a firm foothold. This kind of artistic exchange promoted the innovation of Pingqiang opera art and produced full-time screenwriters, such as Cheng Zhaocai (stage name Dong Laishun), who wrote nearly a hundred scripts in his lifetime, including “Opening a Shop” and “Accounting for the Oiran”. The band removed the bamboo board, used drums ( kick drum ) and clappers instead, added banhu and flute, and adopted Hebei Bangzi gongs and drums. At the same time, it absorbs the singing, opening, and body of shadow puppets, Lasting drums, Peking opera, etc., thereby enhancing artistic expression. At this time, the singing of Pingqiang opera was named “Ping Opera” because of the use of real voice and high strings and low singing. So far, Ping Opera has basically formed as a type of opera. In 1912, Wang Yongfu, Wang Fengting, and his sons on the western slope of Tangshan hill planned to build Yongsheng Tea Garden, which was the first theater of Pingu. The theater can accommodate nearly a thousand spectators. Because it is in the Tangshan area, the type of drama is also called “Tangshan Laozi”.
In 1915, the Qingchun Class Club starred in Yuemingzhu and performed “Little Guxian” and “Liu Yun’s Mother” in the Austrian, Italian, and French “concessions” in Tianjin, which were very popular. At that time, after Li Dazhao watched “Flower as a Matchmaker”, he wrote the inscription “Like a play but not a play, it is strange to compare the play, improve the Ping opera!” In 1917, Tianjin Dashui, Qingchun class returned to Tangshan and changed its name to Yongsheng Group. In 1915, the Yongsheng team went to Shanhaiguan via Tianjin to premiere “Pearl Shirt”, ” Fan Lihua Scolding the City”, and “Hundred Years of Hatred” in Xingye Tea Garden, which won the appreciation of some cultural people. The squire Kui Xudong presented the ” Tangshan First Police World” The plaque of the “Xinshi Club ” was renamed the Jingshi Opera Club from Yongsheng Group, which was later known as the “Jingshi First Class”. This team is composed of the Cheng family (represented by Zhaocai ), Ren family (represented by Yue Mingzhu), and Zhang family (represented by Jin Kaifang and Zhang Deli ). They have established strict rules, pay attention to standard terms in art, and have also compiled some new plays.

4, Fengtian Laozi stage

In the spring of 1919, some artists of the Jingshi Opera Club were invited to perform in Yingkou, Changchun, Harbin, and other places, and were welcomed by audiences in Northeast China. In particular, the first performances in Harbin, such as ” Sister Yang’s Complaint ” and “Black Cat Complaint” compiled by Cheng Zhaocai, were more influential. At that time, it was also called “Fengtian Laozi”. In 1922, the main actor Yue Mingzhu died in Shenyang due to overwork, and the Jingshi Opera Club was also disbanded due to personnel changes. In the autumn of the same year, some artists from the original club reorganized and performed in Tangshan, Tianjin, Harbin, Jilin, Changchun, and other places. The repertoire included “Shoot the Camel Dragon ” and so on.
In 1923, Li Zixiang and Lianhualuo veteran artist Li Chunsheng organized the second class of Jingshi Opera Club in Tangshan, often activities along the Northeast Railway. The cast is first Wang Fengting, then Gao Jingshan, the screenwriters are Dou Baoan and Zhang Liancheng, and the actors include Gai Yuezhu (Wang Donghai), Jin Lingzhi, Li Yiting, Lotus Flower, and Golden Chrysanthemum. Soon, another Fusheng Opera Club was set up. The main actors included Hibiscus Flower, Huayunfang, Li Xiaoxia, Hua Xiaoxian, etc. This other club once performed in Beijing and was very influential for a while.
And the establishment of community cautionary drama class two at the same time, Tianjin has set up a cautionary drama club three shifts, writers have YANG Shu-sen, warm Dongshan, starring cover Wang Chu (Wangqing Chang, Dan), Zhou Ji (Fengming, raw), flower Lian Fang, Xiao Guihua ( Zhang Liyun ), Xiao Hehua, etc. The most influential actress is Xiao Guihua. During this period, there were also “Second Sun Class” (South Sun Class and Bei Sun Class) and Yuanshun Opera Club. Nansun Ban (the predecessor of Qishan Opera Club) was established in Tianjin in 1912. The foreman is Sun Fengming (Dong Fabia), and the starring role is Sun Fengling (stage name Hua Pao). Nansun Class is the earliest class agency that recruits and trains actresses. The famous actresses Hualianfang, Li Jinshan, Bai Yushuang, Xiao Guihua, Xiao Ma Hong, etc. are all from the agency. Northern Sun classes ( HONG SHUN drama predecessor), founded in 1918 in Hebei by Sunhong Kui hosted (also called Sun En, the stage name lilac), the actors have Pitt beads (Tang Hoi), the world red, burgundy (Sun Fenglou ), Ni Junsheng, etc. This class trained a group of actors who fell behind.
Yuanshun Opera Club was established in 1924. Guo Ziyuan and Li Jinshun are the class leaders, and the actors include Li Jinshun and Xi Caichun. When they performed in Tianjin, they used the term “Pingxi” for the first time. In 1929, the first compilation of Pingju’s play “The Grand View of Pingju” was edited and published by Wei Mao and Li Xiaofang. During the period of Fengtian Laozi, most of the main Pingju opera clubs were active in the Northeast. They sang more vigorously and unrestrainedly. In particular, the appearance of actresses marked a new stage in the development of Pingu. After the September 18th Incident in 1931, many ban clubs returned to the Guan and performed in Tianjin and Beijing, forming many genres, among which the famous “Tianjin Three Masters”: Liu Pai ( Liu Cuixia ) and Bai Pai (Bai Yushuang), Aipai (Alianjun). Also, Hi Confidence Interval, Xiao sweet-scented osmanthus, hibiscus flower, Xiao Ma red, also have different characteristics.

5. Pingju stage

In 1935, up and down artists flocked to the south, performing in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and other places, and later went to Chongqing, Chengdu, Guiyang, and other places, and took root in these areas. At the beginning of this year, the name “Pingju” appeared in Shanghai newspaper drama advertisements. In 1939, Bai Yushuang went south to perform, which caused a sensation in Shanghai. The starring “Begonia Red” was also put on the screen, and for this, he was praised as the ” Queen of Pingju “. After that, “Time Artist” Xi Cailian performed in Shanghai and was also well received, and was supported and praised by famous dramatists A Ying, Hong Shen, and Ouyang Yuqian. However, under the influence of the social customs at that time, some artists also catered to the taste of some ordinary citizens: performing some low-level and vulgar programs; some actors were unable to perform due to drug abuse, many clubs were forced to disband, and Pingju once declined.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the China Critic Theater and the Shenyang Critic Theater were successively established. Tianjin, Tangshan, Beijing, Hebei, Changchun, Harbin, and other places also successively established the Ping Opera Troupe. At the same time, reforms were made in the repertoire and performing arts. By 1985, there were more than one hundred Pingju groups nationwide. Among the most influential ones is the China Critic Theater. Famous actors include Xiao Bai Yushuang, Xin Fengxia, Xi Caelian, Hua Yuexian, Li Yilan, Zhao Lirong, Wei Rongyuan, Ma Tai, Zhang Defu, Chen Shaofang, Xi Baokun, Liu Ping, Gu Wenyue, etc.; Shenyang comment Theater, famous actors have Xiaojun Ting, flower Shulan, Han Shaoyun, Xin Yan-ling and so on; Tianjin comment Theater, famous actors have fresh spirit Xia, Liu Cuixia, the age of six red, Lin Jun, Li FuanEtc; Harbin comment Theater, famous actors have hi Choi Ling, Liu small building and so on.
pingju opera-4

West Road Pingju

The other branch of Pingju, West Road Pingju, evolved from Xilu Lianhuahua at the beginning of the 20th century. It was originally named ” Beijing Bengbeng ” and later changed to West Road Pingju. In 1893, Baodi (in Tianjin today) was the first to enter Beijing to perform in Beijing, mainly composed of Lianhua Luo artists Jin Yezi (Lai Fengyi, Xiaosheng), Han Jiuling (Hua Dan), Ren Ren Le (Cai Dan), and Liu Ye Hong (Tsing Yi). After Hebei Xianghe of Dian Zuo (Tsing Yi), Hou Tokuyama ( to be born ), Jizhou (now Tianjin Jixian ) of Tiaolian red (actress), etc. have entered Beijing, Peking Opera is the West’s founder. After the Beijing West Peking Opera, Hebei Clapper absorbed, old tune, haha cavity, and other local operas of the repertoire, music, and dance, have begun to take opera form, often on the same stage with Hebei Clapper, called ” two pot .”
West Hebei Peking Opera folk-based, high singing, thrown cavity length, multi-purpose, “according to yo-ho, according to Yaha” for the ornament and lining word, formed a set of their own singing and singing. When Xilu Pingju came into being, the main form was “beating a street stall” or performing in a tea garden. Around 1912, he improved in art and went to Shanghai to perform. The famous actor who picked curtain red was the protagonist who went to Shanghai to perform at that time. But later due to some objective reasons, it was once depressed. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, through excavation and reform, new developments in art have been made. As in the past by the actor decorated female roles, students, Dan range with degrees, after the reform, transfer aspects of Dan, singing, acting, dialogue, etc. are major changes by actress play. After 1958, the China Review Theatre has performed “Hua Ting Hui”, “Yang Er She Alms”, “Selling Water”, “Top Pot”, “Three Women Eliminating the Tyrant”, and Changchun Review Theatre also performed ” Liu Ling Drunk ” and other Western Road commentary drama repertoire. Since the 1970s, the performances of “The Drummer’s Complaint” and ” Sweet Career ” performed by the China Pingtiao Theater have also used the vocals of West Road Pingju.
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