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Vladimir LukashevExpert on China and South-East Asia
Peking Opera is a synthetic art form. Officially, Peking Opera appeared two hundred years ago, but its constituent elements are at least a thousand years old. The characters that appear on the stage are easily recognizable. Their types and quantity are strictly regulated. As well as their methods of influencing the public. There are four such methods: singing, recitation, pantomime and martial art. Accordingly, each character is strong in one of these four "specializations". And within these methods, too, everything is clearly regulated. Gestures, recitation styles, singing and weapon handling. Even "eye expression" is regulated. All this constantly reminds you that you are in China, where for five thousand years you have been able to sort everything out and write instructions for every life situation. This was especially pronounced in Beijing, the capital of the Middle Empire, where the Peking opera was formed.
Speaking about the Beijing opera, we can not fail to mention Confucianism, which strictly regulates the behavior of a person in society and in the family. Confucianism is not a religion in the full sense of the word, but I would say that Confucianism is more than religion. This is the policy and the system of governance of the country, and the mechanism that regulates social and economic processes. This is the basis and the basis of the way of life of the Chinese, and indeed of the whole state. In other words, Confucianism is the basis of the Chinese mentality. And all this also contributed to the emergence of strict regulations of the Beijing opera. In short, the Beijing Opera is a national Chinese art.
One of my acquaintances joked, saying that the performances of the Peking opera reminded him of an old joke about friends who, during a long conversation, often told old jokes to each other that in the end they just gave each joke their number. Well, say, said: "Number twenty-three." Everyone remembered the anecdote and laughed. Indeed, it seems. Especially if you remember the end of this anecdote. The newcomer, who got into this company, called the figure at random. As a result, he was expelled, explaining: "So as not to tell unprintable anecdotes in the ladies."
Separately, I must say about the plots of the Peking opera. They are mainly based on the history of China. Significant and minor events are transformed into plots. And to real events, they can already have an indirect relationship. The names of the performances are amusing: "Favorite Yan drank a little more", "Farewell to Xiang Yu with his favorite Yu Ji". In general, the personal life of the emperors is a frequent plot of the performance, however, like the military plots: "Taking the Weiushan Mountain", "Attack on the White Tiger Regiment", "Red Women's Battalion", "Fighting in the Plain".
It is interesting that during the "Cultural Revolution" the persecution of the Peking opera was limited. Although this kind of art got from the hungwebins. Many plays were banned for execution, only ten revolutionary operas were allowed, praising communist reality.
For a snack, I want to briefly summarize the plot of the performance of the Beijing opera The Legend of Mu Quife, a warrior with a tender heart, brought by the Taiwanese theater Kuo Kuang to Moscow in 2003. Here he is:
In the remote fortress city lives a desperate warrior Mu Kvey-Ing, who leads an army of well-trained bandits. At this time, the Song Dynasty waged war against the northern barbarians. The son of the Sung Commander, by his own foolishness and with some help from the generals intriguing against him, instead of dealing with the barbarians, goes to storm the fortress, led by Mu Kvey-Ing. Naturally, the battle loses and is captured. Outraged by the son’s evil deed, the father stormed the city of Mu Kvey-Ing to execute the over-age dunce for disobedience. But it was not there. Balbess is already married to a warrior, to contact with which is more expensive. What the Commander-in-Chief was immediately convinced of when he met Mu Kvey-Ing on the battlefield. The defeated Commander-in-Chief can only reconcile with the newly baked daughter-in-law, however, having received her army as a bonus. Well, then, the traditional:
Thunder of victory,
Have fun, brave Chinese!
The northern barbarians are defeated and run to their lair, the Commander-in-Chief in favor, universal rejoicing.