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Suzhou Pingtan (Story Telling and Ballad Singing)

Suzhou Pingtan (Story Telling and Ballad Singing) is originated in Suzhou 400 years ago and performed in the Suzhou dialect. It's reputed the sweetest tone in China.

Suzhou Pingtan is actually a cover-term for Pinghua and Tanci. Tanci is mostly performed by two narrators, accompanied by a three-string zither and a pipa lute, telling stories of daily life and about love affairs. Representatives are The Pear Pagoda, The Jade Dragonflies, The Gilded Hairpins, Three Smiles and Love of Weal and Woe. Pinghua is mostly performed by a singer narrator with a fan and a gavel, telling stories of history, court cases, heroes and epics.

Suzhou Pingtan Suzhou Pingtan
Suzhou Pingtan performance at a tea house Suzhou Pingtan performance at Lingering Garden

Both the teahouses and some gardens offer Suzhou Pingtan performance. Recommended are the Night Garden Show at Masters of the Nets Garden where you can appreciate Pingtan and Kunqu simultaneously, Lingering Garden and teahouses at the Pingjiang Old Street.

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