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The Soul of Beijing OperaTheatrical Creativity and Continuity in the Changing World$
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Ruru Li

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099944

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099944.001.0001

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Eyes on Jingju

Eyes on Jingju

(p.1) Prologue Eyes on Jingju
The Soul of Beijing Opera

Eugenio Barba

Hong Kong University Press

This section discusses Jingju, which literally means “Beijing drama”, and is the Chinese word for the theatrical genre known in the West as “Peking/Beijing Opera”. It defines jingju as a total theatre which emphasizes stylization over realism. It includes the Chinese terms for jingju's four basic skills, translated by Elizabeth Wichman as “singing, speaking, dance-acting, and combat”. It elucidates that “dance-acting” includes pure dance and pantomime as well as the visible results of “acting” in the Western sense, while “combat” in this non-mimetic theatre encompasses stylized fighting with swords and spears, martial arts, and acrobatics. It further elucidates how performers and spectators approach jingju, what it meant to people at different times, and how it managed to evolve and survive throughout the twentieth century.

Keywords:   jingju, Beijing drama, Beijing Opera, theatrical genre, stylization, realism, singing, speaking, dance-acting, combat

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