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Beijing Opera | Peking Opera

Discover Beijing Opera

Liyuan Theater With its fascinating and artistic music, singing and costumes, the Beijing Opera (Peking opera) is China's national opera. Full of Chinese cultural traditions and tidbits, the opera presents the audience with touching stories, beautiful paintings, exquisite costumes, graceful gestures and martial arts as well as combining stylized action, singing, dialogue, acrobatic fighting and dancing to explain ancient Chinese myths and historical stories or depict various different characters, good or bad. Nowadays, appreciting an authentic Beijing Opera Show in famous Liyuan Theater is a must-do when you are traveling in Beijing.

Beijing Opera

Beijing Opera

Beijing Opera

Beijing Opera

It is believed that Beijing Opera gradually came into being after 1790 when the four famous Anhui opera troupes came to Beijing. Beijing Opera underwent fast development during the reign of Emperor Qianlong and the notorious Empress Dowager Cixi and eventually became more accessible to the common people. Although it is called Peking Opera, its main melodies primarily originated from Xipi, Anhui and Erhuang, Hubei. The dialogue used for the opera is an archaic dialect that also has roots from those regions. Over time, various music and arias from other musical art forms were absorbed. It was partly this process of taking the cream of the crop of musical styles that contributed to Peking Opera 's success.

Beijing Opera Beijing Opera
The famous heroine Mu Guiying in traditional Beijing opera The leading Character of "Royal Concubine Yang of the Tang Dynasty"

In ancient times, Beijing Opera was performed mostly on stage in the open air, teahouses, or temple courtyards. Since the orchestra played loudly, the performers developed a piercing style of song that could be heard by everyone. The costumes were a garish collection of sharply contrasting colors to stand out on the dim stage that was illuminated only by oil lamps. It is also a visual art from that integrates music, actor 's performances, literature, aria, and face-painting. The rules for Beijing Opera have been standardized and must be followed strictly. Only the very top actors and musicians can ever perform in a big time show.

Depth-Introdution to Beijing Opera (Peking Opera)

Opera band
The Peking Opera band mainly consists of an orchestra and percussion band. The former frequently accompanies peaceful scenes while the latter provides the right atmosphere for battles. The percussion instruments used most commonly include castanets, drums, bells, and cymbals. One person usually plays the castanets and drums simultaneously. These instruments direct the entire band with their rhythm. The orchestral instruments include tradition Chinese instruments like the Erhu, Huqin, Yueqin, Sheng (reed pipe), and Pipa (lute).

Facial Painting
Beijing Opera The exact origin of facial painting is unknown, but its artistic value cannot be denied. The paintings are representations of the characters' roles. For example, a red face usually depicts heroic bravery, uprightness, and loyalty; a white face symbolizes a sinister, treacherous, and guile character while a green face denotes surly stubbornness, impetuosity, and lack of self-restraint. The unique makeup allows characters on stage to portray their traits and emotions silently.

Peking Opera costumes are called "Xingtou" or, more popularly, "Xifu." The costumes are graceful and magnificent, expertly made in handicraft embroidery. Making use of traditional Chinese patterns, the costumes have a high aesthetic value. Since each dynasty in Chinese history had its own unique operatic costume, the number of costumes was too great for performers to master. Hence, artists and costume designers worked together to create costumes that could be used no matter when or where the action was supposed to take place.

While a selected few masters dominated the stage in the past, since the 1990s a number of highly talented performers have emerged that help to demonstrate the continued importance of Peking Opera in Chinese culture. In recent years, the Peking Opera Theater of China has even started to experiment with incorporating western symphonic music in its productions. Peking Opera offers a vivid picture of Chinese culture and history and is a great way for visitors to get a taste of the country.

Beijing Opera Beijing Opera
A Typical Peking Opera Stage

One kind of female characters in the opera--Wudan, woman who is good at martial arts.

Liyuan Theater Beijing Opera Show

Nowadays, climbing the Great Wall, tasting Beijing Roast Duck and appreciating a Beijing Opera show have become three must-do activities for overseas visitors that you should never miss. Of so many places where we can appreciate beijing opera, Liyuan theater ranks the best one with grand reputation in this circle.

Beijing Liyuan Theater, regarded as the most popular beijing opera theater, welcomes thousands of audiences from all over the world.

Beijing Liyuan Theater Opera ShowAddress: Qianmen Jianguo Hotel, 175 Yongan Road, Hufangqiao, Xuan Wu District, Beijing
Show Time: 19:30 - 20:40 daily
Highlight: Traditional Peking Opera Show
Famous Repertoires: Farewell to My Concubine, Goddess of Heaven Scattering Flowers, Eighteen Arhats Fighting Wu Kong,etc.

Liyuan Theater Peking Opera Show (7:30 pm - 8:40 pm)
Ticket Class Upstairs Downstairs Section 1 & 3 Section 2 VIP Seats
Discount Rate USD27 USD40 USD56 USD72 USD88
Pay by

Tips: Section 1, 2, 3 and VIP seats include Snacks & Fruits with table. Please see the below image for seat arrangement.

Beijing Opera

Liyuan Theatre Beijing Opera Show Booking Tips

After you select a ticket class in above table, later you shall select show date&time and submit your information, then make payment online by Paypal, then you will get a ticket confirmation voucher in 12 hours.
Ticket Confirmation Voucher: How to get show ticket(s)?
After make payment online to us, the Ticket confirmation voucher will be sent to you via email. You will get show ticket(s) just by displaying our ticket confirmation voucher to our staff April who is waiting for you outside the theater at 7:00pm. With the ticket'the theatre staffs will help you to find the seat.
If it is fully booked, what can we do? 100% Refund Guarrantee:
With a long-term contract with Liyuan Theatre, we can hold seats till 6:00 pm every show day. If it is already fully booked on the required day, we will inform you via email as soon as possible, ask if you need to change a show day, or need 100% refund. Thousands of our clients have paid through PayPal to book tickets in this way. In case when we find out the tickets have been sold out on the day you required, we guarantee to send 100% refund to your Paypal account immediately.
Urgent Booking: How to go to the theatre?
You can directly contact us by Email or call 0086-20-37251788 to make a urgent booking. Please see the transportation guide below. Also the theatre address has been written in Chinese on the confirmation voucher so that you can print it and display it to the taxi driver.
Want to cancel the booking? Want to change the show date?
No cancellation fee if you change or cancel the booking 48 hours prior to the show day. We will send the refund to your paypal account minus the transaction fee.
If you cancel the booking in 48 hours, there is no refund to you, because the theatre will charge us 100% of the ticket cost.
Please inform us 48 hours prior to the show day, we will check the availability for seats and contact you as soon as possible. But if we can not change to another day you required, we will recommend another day, or send the refund to your paypal account as required.
For more question about this show, please contact our trip advisor.

Liyuan Theatre Transportation Guide

Address: No.175, Yongan Road, Xuanwu District, Beijing, China
Location: Qianmen Area
Direction: 3km from Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City
  3km from Beijing Railway Station
  35km from the Beijing Capital Airport
Surrounding: City Center, Liulichang, the Qianmen business Street,etc.
Metro Route: At the stop of Liyuan Theatre of Metro Line Batong.
Bus Route: 6, 15, 822 (get off at Yongan Lu Stop)

Visit Liyuan Theatre Opera Show with ChinaTourGuide.com

Beijing Liyuan theatre A stage picture of Farewell to My Concubine

Beijing Opera features its colorful costumes and significant facial paintings, which can bring you an incredible visual impact. Before watching the show, fortunately you can take a look at the make-up process of every performer. It is exciting to see it, because at the old times commonly the make-up room was set behind the stage, and the make-up process was always being kept secrets. But now you can see the whole process and acknowledge that how these performers painted themselves with colorful inks. :) Enjoy yourself with taking photos of them! If you would like, even you can have yourself photographed after you putting on the opera costumes and the awesome make-up. It isn't very interesting?!

Performers are painting their faces for the show. The Make-up process is open to visitors.

The most wonderful charm of Beijing Opera Show is its fantastic Acrobatic fighting part, always attracting a round of applause. If you are a chinese Kungfu lovers, you can not miss the Beijing Opera Show! Actually the acrobatic fighting is regarded as the basic skills of opera artists, commonly a student of Beijing opera spends many years to practice these basic skills.

On the both sides of the stage, screens of English subtitles are set to help you to understand the performers'lines. It's believed that appreciating the opera show is a outstanding way to understand the Chinese History and Culture, for all shows aims to present ancient Chinese myths or historical stories to you. And more comfortably, you can have a taste of delicious local snacks and wonderful Chinese tea during the show!

Turly a visit to Liyuan theater can leave you a wonderful memory for your whole life.

Liyuan Theatre

Liyuan theatre is located on the ground floor of the trendy Beijing Qianmen Jianguo Hotel, enjoying a very elegant and classic environment. A huge picture of many opera images, hanging up in the hall, can definitely catch your eyes. Liyuan theatre welcomes thousands of audiences and opera lovers from all over the world every month, and it runs daily a show in the evening. With a seating capacity of 800 audiences,the theatre has three zones for audiences, including VIP tables zone, the rear downstair seating zone and upstair seating zone. In VIP zones, you can taste delicious local snacks and chinese tea while watching the show. Surly a visit to Liyuan theater would be a colorful experience in your whole life.

A Huge Opera Picture Hanging up Inside Qianmen Jianguo Hotel Beijing Opera attracts seas of audiences every month.

Liyuan Theatre Famous Repertoires

Farewell to My Concubine

Warring leaders Liu Bang and Xiang Yu agreed to a truce and drew a demarcation line at Honggou. Liu's generl feigned surrender to Xiang and then successfully lured Xiang and his troops into an ambush. Xiang and his troops were surrounded and couldn't break through. When his soldiers heard their folk songs sung from the enemy, they took it for granted that their fellow soldiers had given up fighting. and their morale went down. Xiang realized that the fight was lost and indulged in his drinks in despair. He bid fatewell to his lover, Yu Ji, who danced her last dance before killing herself with a sword. Though Xiang broke through the tight encirclement and got lost, he felt ashamed of seeing his countrymen and killed himself by cutting his throat by the side of Wu River.

Stealing Silver from Government Storehouse

This is an episode of 'The Romance of the White Snake'. After Bai Suzhen (the white snake) married Xu Xian ,she asked Xiao Qing (the green snake) to steal sliver in storage of Qiantang County. Xiao Qing defeated the storehouse guards and stole the silver successfully.

Goddess of Heaven Scattering Flowers

Sakyamuni heard that Vimalakirti was sick and asked Manjuari to lead all the disciples to see Vimalakirti. and asked the goddess to scatter flowers to bring fortune to him. The goddess departed from All Fragrant Land and traveled a long distance Four Sramaneras discussed Dharma and took care of Vimalakirti,and manjuari meditated with him.Then he goddess came and scattered flowers.

The Crossroads

Jiao Zan, a senior officer of the Song Dynasty, was exiled under guard to Shamen Island, for killing a treacherous court official. Marshal Yang ordered Ren Tanghui to protect Jiao in secret. Ren and Jiao spent the night at the Crossroad Inn. Innkeeper Liu Lihua believed that Ren intended to murder Jiao,so he stole into Ren's room and fought with him in the dark. Only when the innkeeper's wife came in with a candle did the three realize the misunderstanding.

Stealing Immortal Herbs

This is an episode of 'The Romance of the White Snake'. On the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, Xu Xian advised his wife, Bai Suzhen (the white Snake Lady, to drink some medicated wine. At her dead drunkenness, Bai showed herself in her true colors: a white snake. At the sight of this, Xu died of fright. To revive her husband ,Bai went to the Forbidden Mountains to steal magic herbs.There she founght with the guardscrane boys and deer boys-and found the herbs she wanted and revived Xu.

Autumn River

In Song Dynasty, Scholar Pan Bizheng, nephew of the old nun, while preparing for the official test at the nunnery, became acquainted and fell in love with Chen Miaochang, a young and well-educated nun. The old nun was furious and forbade them to continue their relationship,finally forcing Pan Bizheng to leave for Linan. After hearing this, Chen ran away from the nunnery in pursuit of Pan Bizheng. By the side of the Qiujiang River, she looked anxiously for a ferry boat. She met a jocular, elderly boatman, who intentionally delayed her with tricks. At last, the boatman helped Chen Miaochang catch up with her lover.

Pick Up the Jade Bracelet

During the Ming Dynasty, a young scholar named Fu Peng admired and fell in love with Sun Yujiao,a beautiful young girl. He deliberately dropped his jade bracelet in front of Sun's house. This, however, was seen by Madam Liu, a matchmaker, who later asked Sun for an embroidered shoe as a love token, and promised to act as matchmaker for the two youths.

Eighteen Arhats Fighting Wu Kong

This play is based on the Chinese classic 'journey to the West', Sun Wu Kong wreaked havoe in Heaven and was thrown into the Eight Trigram stove of the Supreme Lord Laotse. Unespectedly,Sun Wu Kong was not burned to death under the high temperature,but instead his eyes became fiery and his pupils golden. He broke the stove and fled Heaven. The Jade Emperor then asked the help of Buddha, and Buddha led the eighteen Arhats to caprure Wu Kong. Wu Kong, using his magical powers, defeated the eighteen Arhats and returned to the Mountrain of Flower and Fruit.

Eight Immortals Crossing Sea

The eight immortals attended the birthday banquet of Queen Mother and got dead drunk. On their way home, they had to cross the raging East Sea. Each used his own skills and power to do it, which agitated the East Sea and the Fairy Goldfish. The Fairy Goldfish argued with the Eight Immortals; and the Eight Immortals felt indefensible and pretended to be drunk and fought with the Fairy Goldfish, but were defeated. They apologized to the Fairy Goldfish and then crossed the sea.

  • Liyuan theater
  • Entrance for theater
  • Beijing opera
  • Beijing Opera Exhibition
  • A Picture of Farewell to My Concubine
  • Beijing opera
  • Taking Photos
  • Beijing opera
  • Make-up for Performance
  • Beijing opera
  • A Glimpse at the Stage
  • Beijing opera
  • Beijing Opera Band
  • Brief Introduction Exhibition
  • An Opera Artist is doing Make-up for himself.
  • A Huge Picture of Beijing Opera

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