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( chinaculture.org )
The Yihuang Opera is a multi-tune opera. It absorbed the aria of Qinqiang, also dubbed Luantan, which is characterized by its simple, bold, exquisite and penetrating, yet exaggerated style. It originated during the late Ming and Early Qing dynasties (1368-1911). The opera is now mainly popular in Jiangxi and Fujian provinces.
There are over 500 kinds of traditional repertoires, most of which have been lost. A few examples are: A Volume of Honest and Upright Officials, Jiangdong Bridge, The Male and Female Whips and A Picture of Qingyang. The aria is very primitive and unsophisticated.
There are up to 12 roles. The performance is simple yet beautiful. For example, to show the movement of riding a horse, the performer ties a prop in the shape of a horse to his body, imitates its movement and dances to the beat of clops which is played by gongs and drums. Only in Yihuang Opera can one see such a primitive method of performance.
The Yihuang Opera, whose formation, development and decline have become the epitome of the history of Chinese opera, is an ideal specimen for the study of the laws of evolution. However, the Yihuang Opera is in danger of dying out, so protective measures shall be taken as soon as possible to keep this piece of cultural heritage alive.