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Han Opera

Wuhan Han Opera Theatre

Wuhan Han Opera Theatre, once awarded as national key art theatre, is an influential art group across the country. Its predecessor is Wuhan Han Opera Troupe. It was built in 1962 with the concern from Premier Chou Enlai. Dong Biwu, vice chairman of China, indited a poem for celebration: Peking and Kun Operas are of refined taste; Qin and Yue Operas bring to the world peace and tranquility; while Han Opera, created by Chen and Wu, displays Wuhan to the whole world.

Chen Bohua, a famous Han Opera Master, is the head of Wuhan Han Opera Theatre staffed with numerous opera Han elites of ten roles. She has made great achievements in the research, sorting and innovation of traditional Han Opera and the education and training of new successors. With the policy of constant improvement and dauntless innovation, Wuhan Han Opera Theatre has formed a unique artistic style of elegance, purity and freshness thus winning high praise from various social circles.

Since its establishment, the staff of the theatre has been successively greeted by Chairman Mao Zedong, President Liu Shaoqi, Commissioner Zhu De, Premier Chou Enlai, Vice Premier Chen Yi and President Li Xiannian, and has presented several performances for national leaders in Zhongnanhai.

During the artistic explorations, the Theatre has sorted, created and put into films and TV a list of excellent plays with wide reputation at home and abroad, such as Plum Blossom the Second, Top Scholar Acts as the Matchmaker, Three Pleas to Fan Lihua, Sword of Yuzhou Feng, Romances between Yue Lei & Yulian, Flower-drum, Wawl in Temple to Ancestors, Li Chuangwang’s Oriflamme, The Skit of Cattle Borrowing, When Fairy Fox Comes to the World, Panhe Bridge, Tie Lianhua, Guangcai Sweeping the Pine Needles & Delivering a Letter to Cai Yong, Yang Silang’s Visiting His Mother and so on. Rooted in Wuhan and oriented to the whole nation, the Theatre is constantly expanding itself to international market. Its performances across the country have won great recognition from the audiences. Newspapers in Hong Kong once reported in many articles giving high praise for its performance during its stay there in 1982; later in 1988, it won great success in Japan and warm reception from Singaporeans for their excellent performance in 1994.

During previous national art competitions, Wuhan Han Opera Theatre showed its rich talent resources: three won “Plum Blossom Award”, the highest-level national award in opera field; six won “Peony Award” by provincial opera association in provincial and municipal competitions; six won “Safflower Award” for Wuhan art talents; three won “Yellow Crane Award” and “News Report Award” by Publicity Department of Wuhan Municipal Committee, and several won first and second prizes for many times in provincial and municipal youth performance competitions.

Currently, Wuhan Han Opera Theatre is staffed with rich talent resources, namely, 19 first-grade state actors and music performers and 43 of second-grade on national level.

Add: No.74, Qianjin 4th Road, Wuhan, China

Tel: 0086-027-82815345  82815340  82815396

Fax: 0086-027-82839805

Han Opera in China

Han Opera, originally named Chu Tune, Erhuang or Han Tune, is one of the oldest operas in China with a history of nearly four hundred years. It is popular mainly in Hubei, Guangdong, Hunan, Shan’xi, Henan and Fujian provinces. During Jiaqing and Daoguang Periods of Qing Dynasty, Anhui Opera, a combination of Anhui and Han tunes, was introduced into Beijing, thus establishing a solid foundation for the shaping and development of Peking Opera, the most influential opera of China and to some extent affecting the fashion and development of other Pihuang opera (a type of opera combined by Xipi and Erhuang tunes). Han Opera plays an important role in history of Chinese operas.

Han Opera has rich and graceful tunes of which the main two elements are Xipi and Erhuang. Xipi tune is powerful and sonorous, while Erhuang is soft and touching. Both of them boast strong expressive forces.

The roles in Han Opera are classified into 10 different ones: mo (middle-aged man), jing (“painted face”), sheng (male role in traditional opera), dan (female role in traditional opera), chou (comedian), wai (role of an elderly man), xiao (civil or military young man), tie (military young woman), fu (role of an elderly woman) and za (military “painted face”). Each role has its special repertoires, rhyme scheme, which enables the performance to be colorful and distinctive.

There is a wide variety of traditional repertoires in Han Opera, and it is said that there are even 800. Han Opera adopts Zhongzhou tune, Huguang tune and the official accent in Wuhan as language in performance. With silk string, plucked instruments, wind instruments and percussion used in musical performance, the scene is divided into civil and military ones. Jinghu (Beijing opera fiddle), erhu (two-stringed Chinese fiddle), yu-kin (four-stringed moon-shaped Chinese mandolin), and sanxian (a three-stringed plucked instrument) are usually used in a civil scene, accompanied by suona horn (a woodwind instrument), flute, while drum, big gong, small gong, cymbals and small brass gong are used in a military scene. The special charm of Han Opera is exhibited by its elegant tune with Han characteristics, distinctive accompaniment of drum and chord, and traditional costumes and performances, such as singing, speaking, acting and dancing.